New fashion design class gains high student interest


Katarina McKinney

Final fitting– Seniors Cara Galske and Corinne Miner work on dress for new fashion class. Students develop their own designs in this class.

Stefan Izydorczak, Arts & Entertainment Editor

What started out as a club, has now transformed into a semester-long course. The new Fashion Design class is offered to anyone grades ninth through twelfth, giving students an opportunity to explore their artistic abilities through clothing design.

The class is taught by art teacher Katarina McKinney. Her interest in fashion began when she attended Arizona State University attaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts in drawing. She worked in the costume shop in the theatre department, then she moved to New York City and got a job at Winlit Inc. as a designer. Then she was also a designer for a company called Retail Brand Alliance in Connecticut as a Textile designer. When she was earning her degree in art education at Central Connecticut State University, she was running a fashion design club at the Simsbury Arts Academy.

When McKinney obtained her current teaching job in the high school’s art department, she sparked a new after-school activity.

“In my job interview, I shared that fashion design was in my portfolio. The art department and the administrators were interested in a fashion design program because they are curious about new things, and they want to get students engaged,” McKinney said.

In the class, students work on learning the basics of fashion design, such as drawing, sewing and creating garments. But McKinney really wants students to gain something even deeper from their experiences.

“The big picture is to be creative and independent thinkers. This really applies to design and solving certain answers because design is a question that doesn’t have one answer. This is a class where students are able to put their own personalities in their work,” McKinney said.

People are taking this class for various reasons. Senior Cara Galske is taking it to “learn the ins and outs of fashion and what comes with being a designer.”

Freshman Ashley Canto wants “to learn how to draw figures and to create costumes and other pieces of clothing.”

But what McKinney keeps addressing are the major themes of creativity and personality.

“Mrs. McKinney tells us that design is an art form, and that there is no right way to do create our pieces,” Canto said.

The Fashion Design class fills up quick. So sign up if you want to have a spot for the next semester.