As a chance to prove their skills and creativity, Fashion students competed in the Fashion Forward competition at the Palazzo Theatre on Saturday. There were two levels that students could participate in: the Designer Level (novice) and the Couture Level (advanced). Only Fashion I and II students could compete in the Designer Level.

“Before Winter Break, participants were decided through an elimination challenge,” Fashion Design teacher Shannon Sheldon said. “It was about the second week back from Winter Break when students received their required materials and began working, so they’ve been working really diligently since then.”

Participants of the Couture Level were assigned a novel as inspiration, given a surprise box of fabric, and a gift card for $30 worth of lining and notions. Purchasing extra fabric was prohibited. Participants of the Designer Level were assigned a fairy tale as inspiration and were allowed to select their own fabric. A few of the fairy tales include Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland.

“A lot of class time has been devoted towards the outfits that the students have made for Fashion Forward,” Sheldon said. “At least twice a week, students have had the option of staying after school for an hour or so to work even more. Also, I’d let them come to school on Saturdays, and we became a close-knit group who would work on sewing for four hours.”

Designers had the option of modeling their own outfits or choosing someone else. Before the event started, students and models were given dressing rooms to prepare. There were also makeup artists to assist as needed.

“I was Rachel Merson’s model, so I would get fittings and come in after school whenever she needed me to, and she could make adjustments to the outfit,” junior Shelbi Watson. “I went to the rehearsal at the theater to practice walking, so I was comfortable on the day of.”

Winners of the Couture Level:

1st: Amber Toranzo (‘18), assigned “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.”

2nd: Isabel Perez (‘18), assigned “The Hunger Games.” Canei Cunningham (‘18) was her model

3rd: Halle Thayer (‘18), assigned “True Grit”

Best Technical Work: Raeniel Reyes (‘18), assigned “True Grit.” His model was his sister, Caileen Reyes (‘19).

Best Use of Materials Given: Amber Toranzo (‘18)

Best Use of Notions and Trims: Grace Lange (‘18), assigned “Hunger Games.”

Best Interpretation of Novel: Halle Thayer (‘18)

Winners of the Designer Level:

1st Place: Gabriela Hernandez (‘19)

Best Interpretation of a Hero: Mackenzie O’Mara (‘19)

Best Interpretation of a Villain: Alexandra Nguyen (‘19)

Best Overall Look and Runway Presence: Gabriela Hernandez (‘19)

“My first thought walking down the runway was terror, but once I started walking, I just soaked up the moment and enjoyed the experience because it was all of my hard work leading to that single moment; I wanted to enjoy it,” junior Grace Lange said. “It is definitely an experience that I’ll never forget.”

Out of the 68 students selected from 12 schools in Las Vegas, 20 of them were from SWCTA.

“I would say that the process leading up to Fashion Forward was a difficult one but totally worth it,” junior Jordin Valencia said. “As much as it was hard to not only create a design from scratch and, at times, create parts of the outfit without any factory pattern and instructions, it made completion of the final product more sweeter. Ultimately, [the project] led to a lot of growth and learning experiences. Plus, it gave insight on what the fashion world is like behind the scenes.”

Did you attend Fashion Forward?