Fashion Class Begins at City High

Victor Kalil, Reporter

Victor Kalil
Fashion class students and co-teacher Elizabeth collaborate on the May fashion show

When Andre Wright, CEO of Born Leaders United—a fashion line—and one of the Press-Citizen’s 11 “People to Watch” first approached City High about creating a fashion workshop, City High administration  expected that it would take place during advisory.

I wanted a way to give my brand another platform and give back to the community,” Wright said. “So I wanted to teach the kids what I know about the fashion industry.”

But now, instead of teaching during the 26 minute advisory period every few days, a class was created with a curriculum that will ultimately lead to a fashion show towards the end of the trimester.

“We started with the idea of having [the class]during advisory meetings,” said Elizabeth Rook, iJAG coordinator and co-teacher of the class, via email. “But [we] realized quickly that that wouldn’t be enough time for students to do all the great things Andre wanted to get done, so we decided to create a class!”

I wanted to learn and experience more about the fashion industry because I’ve watched a lot but haven’t experienced it,

— Prisca Namuchibwe

Students will not just be learning about fashion, but will also learn many other skills that are essential to the fashion industry such as team building, organizing around a cause, and marketing.

Instead of just learning about fashionable clothes, the experience in this classroom is much more comprehensive. Students will be learning lots of the behind-the-scenes parts of creating a fashion show as Wright has taken experience in helping organize fashion shows such as the Flyover Fashion Fest, a fashion show held in downtown Iowa City. Prisca Namuchibwe ‘20 is one of those students hoping to learn the more unseen skills required for a fashion show.

“I wanted to learn and experience more about the fashion industry because I’ve watched a lot but haven’t experienced it,” said Prisca Namuchibwe ‘20.

The fashion class takes place in an open-ended environment. Most of the time, students are free to talk across groups and brainstorm ideas.

“It’s a class where you can share your opinions, change things, and see how your ideas are becoming something,” said Aileen “Dalia” Castaneda ‘17.

The class will also have multiple guest speakers come in to help talk to students about their experiences. On March 27th, Simeon Talley, co-founder of the Iowa Fashion Project, spoke to the class about Iowa’s role in the fashion industry.

“When we say fashion in Iowa, a lot of people are immediately dismissive,” Talley said. “What you don’t hear about when it comes to fashion in Iowa is that there are some really cool and amazingly dope brands that were built here.”

Talley hopes the experience the class creates towards the end of the trimester will be successful.

During May, the fashion class will host a fashion show in the gym, complete with a runway, models, and clothes they have synthesized between traditional clothes of different cultures and everyday clothes. Castaneda believes showing this diversity is crucial.

“America needs variety of culture because without it we would be boring,” she said.

Wright is hopeful and excited for the class’s final product.

“The class is going so well [and] the students are so attentive and eager to learn. This will be one of those fashion shows not to miss.”