Fashion Design courses let students stitch together their identities 

in Opinion by

As I spent hours hovering over a fabric-adorned mannequin, meticulously pinning and tweaking the chalk-stained satin to match my vision for the dress, I wished for one thing and one thing only: guidance. 

I know many students, myself included, who spent their time within the Fine Arts department receiving specialized help with their creative journeys. When I learned that Fashion Design was an elective exclusive to the Palm Beach campus, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. 

The Broward campus offers more than 70 Fine Arts courses, many of which are specialized to certain interests. From architectural design to stage makeup, Heritage makes sure to nurture the creative talent of its students, reflected in the various artistic awards students have won, proudly displayed throughout campus. 

However, due to the lack of fashion courses on the Broward campus, students need to spend their summers sharpening their fashion talents to take the place of receiving direction and advice during the school year. 

“I think that fashion is an essential part of society, especially with how people present themselves,” junior Isabella Pinheiro Nascimento, who attended a two-week long summer course about the fashion industry this past summer, said. “Even if you aren’t a designer, the way you dress heavily influences how you’re seen by others. I wish I could’ve taken a longer course and learned about [fashion] more in-depth because [design] is a major hobby of mine. If a class was offered [on campus] for it, I’d definitely try to implement it into my schedule.”

Fashion is everywhere, as seen clearly even on campus. While Heritage maintains a strict uniform policy, students find ways to display their fashion sense and convey their personalities through the conservative polo shirts and cotton slacks. 

“Ever since the early age of six, my mind was blown by the world of fashion,” junior Maiya Russell, who is an advocate for a fashion design club on campus, said. “Wearing tu-tus underneath my uniform, accessorizing my [tea party] outfits, and even helping my mom get dressed for work are some of my most cherished memories. Even today, I love deciding which shoes go best with my white uniform shirt and how I can personify my mandatory belt to a different aesthetic. Fashion, to me, is more than just clothing: it’s art that gives people a glimpse of your personality, character and preferences. There aren’t many resources and learning opportunities for the [fashion] industry despite how fashion is used by everyone, every day, as mankind buys clothing. This is the reason I believe a fashion club, or a fashion class, is a necessity for our school,” she said. 

Aside from shoes and belts, students also carry frilly parasols, put on colorful socks or wear velvety bows in order to portray their fashion identities on campus. With so many students willing to invest in one, a fashion design course would not only foster students’ interest in the subject, but also provide them with the skills to present their unique identities through a creative outlet. 

Junior Isabella Pinheiro Nascimento incorporates elements of her cultural identity and hobbies into her fashion designs. “I made this design for the summer course I took. [This] design was inspired by the upcoming world cup, I featured the patterns of a soccer ball and kept an overall theme of Brazil. In the course, we were instructed to produce our outfits from mostly upcycled clothes and our old clothing which led me to create a look that reflected some elements of Brazilian street soccer,” she said. (Photo/Isabella Pinheiro Nascimento)