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BELOIT I liked everything.

That’s what Martha Garduno, senior at Beloit Memorial High School (BMHS), said about her fashion design class with teacher Elizabeth Carpenter. Garduno took arts classes throughout high school and fashion design did not disappoint.

We watched a lot of parades and chatted about boutiques. It was super fun, creative and low stress, said Carpenter.

As part of their class, students dressed Barbie dolls in edgy styles for practical looks in a variety of challenges. Not only is Barbie clothing a growing trend right now, but it has worked well in distance education as students may not have access to sewing machines. Carpenter delivered a needle and thread to his students as well as Barbie dolls found in thrift stores who needed appropriate attire.

Barbie was originally a model, so her proportions are what they use in fashion, Carpenter added.

Garduno created a spring look with a natural floral print mixed with geometric patterns for a light casual look.

I liked it so much. I’m not good at sewing, but it was fun, she says.

Garduno said she plans to attend Blackhawk Technical College next year and eventually work in early childhood education where she plans to use her love of the art. She has taken all available art classes and said she would be a little sad when she leaves BMHS and Carpenter art classes.

She was so fun, creative and out there. It was kind of a shock at first, she said. You felt the creative process.

Sophomore Jayla House used a blue bandana accented with white fabric that comes off the hip and shoulder area to create a stunning avant garde look. She said the class was fun and her mom told her she was creative.

Junior Jasiah Richardson wanted a two-piece skirt and a tube top with a strap. She mixed a black and white and black and red print to create a sophisticated look.

Richardson said she hoped to learn how to sew and design clothes for herself and her family rather than going to the store.

Carpenter said there were three sections of the fashion design class for a total of 40 students. They usually start working with paper to learn how to make patterns and eventually a paper dress. Students learn to make darts and folds and incorporate them into the paper dresses.

They offer beautiful models, life size and on clothing forms. They’ve won awards at local shows, Carpenter said.

Students also complete a graduate project in which they cut out used men’s shirts or jeans and redesign them into a new garment.

Like fashion designers, students learn to find inspiration. For example, Carpenter said that one student chose an antique lampshade while another found his muse near a water fountain. Students study catwalks and design exaggerated looks that they later learn to combine for ready-to-wear.

Now that the Barbies are dressed, they’ll be working on a shoe design. Carpenter delivered them a seesaw as a base and they will need to sew or glue on a playroom.

The students came up with some interesting ideas for heels. One theme is water lilies and a frog, while another student uses chains and sequins and others are thinking about unique shoes for people with disabilities.

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