Oct. 12, 2022 - Fourteen Comal Independent School District students in the fashion design program at Smithson Valley High School will showcase their original designs in the Marisol Deluna 2022 Community Fashion Show 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Arneson River Theater in San Antonio. Gates open at 6 p.m., and the fashion show begins at 7 p.m.
The SVHS students were invited to participate in the annual fashion show by Deluna, a fashion designer who lives in New York but has roots in San Antonio. Students from across San Antonio will represent their schools at the event. While the show is free to the public, a fashion pop-up store and refreshments will be available for purchase benefitting the Marisol Deluna Foundation, a nonprofit which supports students and professionals in the fashion and arts in Texas.
Deluna, the professional designer, became familiar with the Comal ISD career and technical education (CTE) fashion design program at SVHS, thanks to a student whom she mentors, Abbey Alcoser. Last spring, Alcoser, 16, invited Deluna to be the emcee of her student-led local fashion show, which she organized, called Small Town in Style.
The show featured local clothing stores and boutiques from New Braunfels, Bulverde and Boerne. Alcoser, who re-established the SVHS Fashion Club, recruited more than 40 students to model, and the event raised $1,655 to benefit two charities – the Deluna Foundation and the FashionABLE Show, which is presented annually in San Antonio by Spina Bifida Texas.
“I have always been inspired by fashion,” says Alcoser, who is currently enrolled in Fashion Design II at SVHS. “Fashion design is a very deep art, and the industry is really big and growing. I hope to further my education in fashion and turn my passion into a career.”
By all indications, Alcoser, who began to sew and design pieces of clothing when she was 7, is well on her way. She is beginning to make plans for next spring’s Small Town in Style fashion show and is looking for local sponsors to participate. Businesses that are interested in supporting the show, may contact the SVHS fashion design teacher Shauna Douglass.
Fashion Design CTE Program
The 14 students including Alcoser who will be walking the runway on Oct. 22 in the upcoming Community Fashion Show are putting the finishing touches on their designs every day during their Fashion Design II class. They are excited about this opportunity which showcases not only their skills, but also the district’s fashion design program which began more than 10 years ago and continues at SVHS, Canyon High School and Pieper High School. The CTE teacher at CHS is Sully Swilley and at PHS, Lyndi Brewer.
The program offers Fashion Design I and Fashion Design II with a practicum for third-year fashion students who may be interested.
Douglass explains that Fashion I covers the basics of the fashion industry, teaching about careers available, history and basic construction.
“I want my students in Fashion I to understand the labor and materials that go into the construction of a piece of clothing,” she says. “I also want them to be able to identify something that is well made and worth paying more money vs. something where corners were cut and is cheaply made. We also follow some basic sewing pattern projects.”
The goal in Fashion II is to have students be creative with their patterns. For third-year fashion students, the district offers a practicum course which becomes an off-campus internship with a local boutique or clothing store where students learn more about the business side of fashion including marketing, visual-display marketing, pricing and more.
Douglass explains that she keeps her Fashion Design II class small since the projects are more elaborate. The Fashion Design I class at SVHS currently consists of 30 students, and she has two sections this year. Douglass encourages ninth-grade students who are interested in the program to take graphic design since college courses rely heavily on design including marketing and merchandising. It is beneficial to know how to use Adobe Illustrator, for example.
“I do a lot of hand sketching partly because I feel all students are on their computers all the time, and I want them to be creating and be creative with their hands as much as possible in my classes,” Douglass says. “I suggest they take graphic design, followed by Fashion I and Fashion II. Many will also take graphic design II as well.
Graduates from the SVHS fashion design CTE program have continued their passion for the industry in college and in careers. Douglass connects her students with industry professionals every chance she gets. She has had virtual classroom visits with product developers and fashion designers.
Soon, students will begin speaking with their school counselors for 2023-2024 course planning and are encouraged to find out more about fashion design and other CTE courses and programs which are available to them.
-Smithson Valley High School student Abbey Alcoser and fashion designer Marisol Deluna.
-Smithson Valley High School fashion design teacher Shauna Douglass and SVHS fashion design student Abbey Alcoser.
-Students showcased clothing from local boutiques during the Small Town In Style fashion show last April, which was organized by Smithson Valley High School student Abbey Alcoser.