Durango will get a little more fashionable when Durango High School fashion students send models down the runway Wednesday night during their Fall/Winter Yin Yang Fashion Show.
Kyle Houle, a senior at DHS and the show’s producer, said both Fashion I and Fashion II classes are participating in the show. Fashion I students – those who have never taken the class before – will be showing one sewn garment and one redesigned garment, which is taking a pre-existing garment, “which you can get from your own closet or the thrift store, and repurpose it – take the sleeves off, add sleeves, make a dress, whatever you want,” he said.
Fashion II students are making full collections. The minimum requirement was four pieces from scratch. Students could do one redesign if they wanted, but Fashion II students like to make (things) from scratch, Houle said.
The show’s theme, “Yin and Yang,” will feature predominately black-and-white garments punctuated with pops of color, Houle said. The set itself will also feature the contrast between light and dark.
“I gathered input from a lot of other designers and people in the school and community to see what a fun theme would be that everybody would have a good time doing,” said Houle, who counts Versace and Chanel as inspirations. “Yin Yang just kept coming up and kept speaking to me.
“For the theme, it’s going to be all black and white with colors that each designer picked. I didn’t want to (limit) them only to black and white – ‘Do what you want, it’s your pieces that you’re making, I want you to love what you’re doing.’ So there is color in there, which I’m excited about,” he said.
While making your own clothes and putting on a fashion show may sound like just fun, there are also serious lessons to be learned, said Kendra Bonnell, Family & Consumer Sciences teacher at DHS.
“The fashion show is a chance for the student designers to show off their hard work,” she said. “The idea of the fashion show to end the course is to make content relevant to real-world situations. This helps students understand the importance of learning the content, and therefore, they will be more motivated for doing so.”
Bonnell said that the high school’s fashion classes also offer students the opportunity to stretch themselves creatively with projects and skills that will help them after high school.
“Fashion class is important because it gives students the opportunity to experiment and be innovative,” Bonnell said. “It also gives students a chance to build out a diverse portfolio of student work, which makes them more marketable in the industry. It gives them insight on what it’s like to be a fashion designer.”
And for Houle, who is torn between a career in fashion and interior design after DHS, there’s also a sense of personal satisfaction that comes from creating something by hand.
“The best part is after you’ve spent hours and hours – I’m a night person, so I’ll stay up until 3 in the morning working on something and being like, ‘Oh my god, it’s time for bed’ – but the best part is when you cut the final strings and hold it up and (say), ‘I made a garment. I made this from scratch.’ That is the best part. ‘I made this from scratch,’” he said.