The Power of Fashion written by Nancy Smeltzer
The Power of Fashion
The final two hours before the fashion show was a frenzy of activity. The room was a cacophony of color and sound.
Twenty-three novice designers had spent the past six weeks visioning, drawing, designing and creating wearable fashions that they would model before moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents and others.
The pencil sketches of what had been dreams were now a reality. It was show time and the kids owned the runway.
“This is the coolest program,” said mom Charlotte Garcia, who was enlisted to help the young designers ranging in age from 6 to 11 with the final tweaks before they walked the runway. “This gives them a license to explore their creativity.”
The boys and girls were participants in an after-school program Fashion Runway Production.
Locally known stylist Priscila Teixeira leads the class chunked out in two-hour segments for six weeks.
The result culminates in a fashion show to mirror the likes of Fashion Weeks in New York, London, Paris and Milan where top designers such as Missoni, Coco Chanel and Jeremy Scott introduce the next season’s work.
Chairs line both sides of the runway giving the aficionados a first look at the next trend. Same here in the long hallway of Greensview Elementary School.
Behind the dressing room doors a make-up artist, hair stylist, nail technician and seamstress helped with the final touches. “Who still needs make-up?” Priscila asked as the time wound down. “Me, me, me,” echoed around the room.
Priscila was busy sewing a hoop into the skirt of Eva, 8. Her painted black dress was decorated with bottle caps and red solo cups. Her other-worldly look was shared by her friend, Nora, 8, who sported the cups and caps and a pair of bejeweled sunglasses.
This pair posed on the runway in moves befitting a Madonna video. The crowd loved the pint-sized pair.
Alex, 7, liked making his costume. He painted his sweater green, his favorite color. While he painted over the lettering on the sweatshirt he stressed that the texture of the lettering could still be felt despite being covered in paint. No doubt he was inspired by Priscila who this day wore pink cowboy boots, bangles and teal silk kimono. “Priscila is very fancy,” he said.
Graham, 9, liked making jewelry and bracelets. His final project was a handbag decorated with pearls.
Priscila culls the materials for the designers from local thrift stores. Rarely does a garment fit, but this gives them license to cut off sleeves, reshape necklines, and move trim from one garment to another. No sewing is required. Glue guns, duct tape, safety pins and paint are these designers best friends. They are fearless. The results illustrate their guile.
Tejas, 11, sported a spring vibe on his suit sporting flowers and pipe cleaners vines. “This represents growth and going onto something new,” he said. “I’m going onto middle school.”
Eleven-year-old Mackenzie envisioned a sunset and hand-painted her floor-length sun dress from the ground up - shades of red, orange and pink up to the cloud filled blue sky. She captured the end to a perfect day.
Eliana, 8, was a walking sunflower from her hand-painted green skirt to her flowered top and yellow top hat. She joined Evelyn on the runway who sported hand-painted orange pants, denim skirt and shirt, and bejeweled bag and sunglasses. The pair radiated sunshine.
Cora was able to bring her love of horses to the runway in a Wild West theme. On the back of her gauze blouse she painted a horse and a carrot and apple on the front.
The designers/models walked the runway to their favorite music that Priscila had queued into the iPhone. “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” by the Kiboomers and “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon were among the favorites.
In the final minutes, Priscila reminded the models/designers that they were wonderful. “You are unique and beautiful,” she said. “Walk and be proud of what you did. Have fun with your music. Share what you created.”
Amy, 7, with a flower wreath in her hair asked aloud, “What beautiful thing am I seeing? Me!”