Fashion Loving Students are Catered Through “Fashion Design and Illustration”


Celeste Moore, Reporter

Last year, several of the more interactive design programs got cut from the school curriculum. Among them were graphic technology, drafting and video production. However, despite the cuts, students can now look forward to a new “Fashion Design and Illustration” class for next fall.

Since its submission by art teacher Krista Karpel and approval from the school, this class was available for registration and will commence at the start of next year. So far, 23 students have enrolled in the class, which surpassed the mandatory average of 15 students needed for a class to be available.

“The course was approved because it met the standards of the new Colorado Academic Standards in Visual Arts and also capitalized on the interest of our student body. Our Fashion Club has been quite popular over the last few years, and I was confident that students would be drawn to a targeted arts course around Fashion Design & Illustration, as opposed to the general course we had been offering which was Life Drawing,” said principal Leanne Garcia.

Since the class has never been taught before, Karpel has a full year to refine the class content and inspire even more students to consider the class for the following year. If the class succeeds, it has a change at permanency within the school’s art department.

“I think [the class] will establish itself. Even if people don’t want to go into fashion design, it’s a good class to have for artists as well,” said Sr. Jessica Snowberger, co-president of Fashion Club.

The class itself aims at blending basic artistic skills with modern elements of textile design in order to broaden a student’s applicable knowledge of art and the fashion industry. The class will be taught by Karpel, but with an emphasis on student leadership and direction.

My goal, in this first semester, is to lay the foundations for the illustration of the human figure, the design of garments, what trends are in the garment industry, and the basic levels of sewing skills that are needed,” said Karpel.

After instructing the basics, however, Karpel wants to expand the class to its fullest potential, tying in elements from computer design, 3D printing and other outside resources like Fall Fashion Week.

“There might be a whole unit where you have to create something using a digital design program. If we get to a point where we are using ideas and printing them out on the 3D printer, that’s when we’ll really be having fun,” said Karpel.

Because of its unique content, this class appears to be more appealing to students. The aspects of fashion design are more modern and relatable to their lives and the emphasis on innovation allows for a more relaxed classroom environment.

I think classes like this are more important because it allows kids to use creativity in their work and think outside of the box,” said So. Callie Huckins.

Besides being drawn in with the novelty factor of the class, students are also interested in how fashion design could help them with preparing for careers. Karpel hopes to extend connections to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) to further the ability of students in their college planning.

“I would have definitely wanted to take [this] class. Living here in Durango, there aren’t as many opportunities with fashion design. Having an illustration class would have taught me the rights and wrongs of designing, instead of me just guessing,” said Snowberger.

Sadly, this class remains an opportunity solely for students attending the school next year, which doesn’t include the graduating seniors. Even though the class has been suggested and requested by students for a number of years, it is now something to be experienced by the younger classes.

Still, the creation of the class seems to be an essential step in modernizing art education and acknowledging other elements of our culture, like what we wear.

“We’ll see how it goes. It’ll be fun,” said Karpel.