“It gives students who are not into athletics a place to shine and showcase their talents.” - Phyllis McHale, Curator
On April 29, 2016, Shea High School of Pawtucket held their 5th annual fashion show. The event is an opportunity for students to get involved and express their identity and talent through fashion. With a wide variety of cultural, sexual, and social backgrounds that make up the urban community, art is a form of expression which all students can identify with. The annual show gives students the chance to put their time and creativity into producing clothing and choreographing scenes. From modeling to designing to decorating the stage, no one is excluded from finding a way to get involved. In collaborating and committing nearly a year of their time, the students worked
hard to deliver the best to represent their community. The show not only features clothing but also dance and visual art, bringing everything together.
This year the show included scenes ranging from African and Middle Eastern inspired clothing to floral and tie-dye pieces. Each designer had a different attachment to their scenes, whether it was a cultural significance they held or love for a specific pattern. One student designer, Vanessa Franco, stated that the inspiration behind her floral collection was “the beauty of flowers.” Working with a collection—starting with an idea, developing it, and actually seeing it walk down the runway—is a rewarding experience for all the designers. Long hours in the sewing studio, which was graciously provided by Susan Love of School House Studios, were definitely exhausting and stressful. Everyone had their own agenda and a different collection and project going on; despite that, every designer bonded over having a unique purpose and meaning behind their pieces. Working with the show not only provided these young and talented designers with the chance to develop their sewing but also gave them first-hand experience of the stress and rewards that come with working behind the scenes of a fashion show.
In the years to come, the show will continue to develop and deliver even more handcrafted fashion. Phyllis is especially excited to see how the creativity and efficiency of the designers evolve in the process of creating next year’s show. The show is a learning experience giving what she calls, “a small taste of the fashion industry.” It is a highly appreciated and valued show bringing in the largest crowd of any event held at Shea. After the positive response to this year’s handmade pieces, it is highly anticipated that the 2017 show will not disappoint!
By Celia Contreras, RICM Intern
Junior at Blackstone Academy
Fashion in RI
Shea High School Student Fashion Show April 2016
Photography by Phyllis McHale