Everyone’s life has been upended in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept across the globe. Huntington High School students taking fashion design and illustration courses are not exempt from the tumult. But the teenagers are adapting in surprising ways.
Art teacher Kim Valerio is striving to keep all of her fashion design and illustration students actively engaged by working with them daily and giving them assignments to work on from home.
“This is the time of year when my fashion program students would normally be working on sewing garments in preparation for the annual fashion show in May,” Ms. Valerio said. “Since school has been closed, sewing has become a struggle for many of my students because most of them do not have sewing machines at home. In addition, fabric stores and arts and crafts stores are all closed. Even ordering supplies online has been difficult with unavailability and longer shipping times. As a result, my fashion students have been mostly hand sewing and designing and drawing fashion illustrations with whatever materials they have available.”
The mid-May fashion show in the high school gym is the highlight of the year for the fashion students, but current events will prevent it from being held this year. So instead of spending hours creating designs and sewing garments at the school, students are working from home, consulting with Ms. Valerio and using whatever materials they can get their hands on.
“In light of the governor’s order that everyone should wear face masks in public, I gave an assignment, open to all my fashion students who have sewing machines at home, to make face masks for themselves and/or family members,” Ms. Valerio said. “Nine of my students, including Fashion I, Fashion III and Portfolio students took up the challenge and made face masks. I also made some.”
Students completing the face mask project include Baylie Larsen, Paige Mangan, Ivania Velasquez-Rodriguez, Kate Balm, Emely Cruz, Aria Hannah Mia Lopez, Daniela Weihskopf Escobar and Erlyn Flores.
“There are many different variations on how to make face masks,” Ms. Valerio said. “I gave my students instructions and patterns for a few and directed them to websites and videos that showed various ways to make masks. I told them they could use whatever fabrics they had available, including old denim jeans, bedsheets, flannel shirts and any cotton fabrics to make the masks.”
Photos of the masks are impressive and so just how creative the fashion design and illustration students are and how they are continuing to grow in their studies even in this period of remote learning.
“I was quite pleased to see how inventive my students were,” Ms. Valerio said. “For example, one of my students did not have elastic, so she cut up stretchy leggings to use instead. Another student used fabric for fixing furniture and absorbent pads from when her dog was a puppy, as a filter.”