Designing, Stitching and Showing Off Their Best: Taft Run Fashion Show Prepares Students for Careers
Futuristic, modern, hip, classy, elegant and vibrant designs stood out on the runway during a recent fashion show at Taft High School. Student models strutted in stunning combinations of hunter greens, accented with the hottest pinks, created by teams of young designers and seamstresses.
The goal: to explore career opportunities in the fashion world that demand designing, sketching, pattern-making, cutting, sewing, and selling. L’ATELIER Director Eileen Capinha-Viadero proudly states that the program is run as a company to instill business etiquette for real business outcomes. Sitting in the front row ready to place orders were buyers, partners, students and local fashionistas.
Whirl Wind by Haydee Vela modeled by Camille Sucier.
Taft High School is the only one in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) that runs its own boutique. The Boutique @ L’ATELIER, which means designer workroom in French, is operated and managed by students studying fashion design at the Woodland Hills campus. Clothing is offered free of charge to students in need, and for manageable prices, ranging from $1-10 with proceeds used to benefit the fashion program. This non-profit, self-funded program has given students real life experiences not only in the industry but in giving, according to the director. Clothing donations have been made to the LAUSD Homeless Education Program, local shelters and internationally to Haiti and Mexico.
During a two-semester course, students study the basics of fashion design. They focus on designing men’s and women’s clothing; researching fashion trends; producing authentic haute couture fashions; creating costumes for movie and TV shows. They also design their own line of clothing. After successfully completing this work, students can take an advanced course, which culminates in the annual L’ATELIER Fashion Show.
Recently, during last-minute preparations, the students’ level of poise and professionalism was straight out of Fashion Week in New York City. Runway designers and the music director polished every detail as guests were seated.
Backstage, the anticipation was visible as make-up artist, designers, seamstress, hair stylists along with creative directors and show coordinators made sure models were camera-ready before they began that much awaited walk down the runway.
Finally, lights softened, and deep breaths were taken, as the sixth-annual Fashion Show presented Chic Mythology.
Photographers and video technicians lined the end of the runway in hopes of capturing that prized shot of glitz and glamour.
Teacher Capinha-Viadero’s passion for her students brings a heartfelt emotion when she speaks of the program. ”Our students go on to achieve careers in the industry of fashion, in all aspects.” She mentioned many former students return to assist in the preparation of the fashion show. “That’s how passionate they are.” She fears, however, the program could be eliminated due to budget cuts, mentioning that she has received a layoff notice. If the program survives, she would like to expand it to include production of multiple pieces of each design –like those on display on the runway.
Miami Visis collection with funky, tropical and neon-hues by Arrowood, Berger & Ly.
Model Lindsay Roth loved the “elegance, sophistication and colors” in the festive, prom-perfect confection, part of the Whirl Wind collection by Haydee Vela.
Designer Summer Arrowood took a different approach with her collection “Ares Fair in Love and War.” Inspired by Ares, the god of war, she said her designs are perfect for “women at war on the battlefield, in schools, in the boardroom” and elsewhere.
She also collaborated in “Miami Visis” with Nina Berger and Quoc Ly, a collection inspired by the South Florida party scene, featuring funky neon hues and tropical patterns.
Students not only design their own collections but are also introduced to the entire range of production jobs within a fashion show, including hair, make-up and accessories, so the clothing is complemented, not overshadowed. Mastering new skills, polishing their talents and showcasing their masterpieces in the annual fashion show prepares them for many careers available in Paris, New York and much closer to home in Los Angeles’s vibrant fashion industry and garment district.
To view the video photo slideshow, click here.
By: Mayra Ramirez
Posted: April 5, 2012
Updated: April 17, 2012