Flowing Wells High School teacher Kimberly Loyd has a passion for fashion and knows the pattern to infuse that sensibility into her classes.
Her students design and sew clothes for their own use, and to show off in portfolios and an annual fashion show. This year's show, Fusion 3, starts at 6 p.m. Friday at the high school, at 3725 N. Flowing Wells Road.
Arizai Gradias, a 17-year-old senior, hopes the class is the launching pad for a career in fashion design and modeling. Next year she will enroll in the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
"I would never have gotten in without this class," Gradias said, praising Loyd's ability to help students find their creative voices.
Gradias has been looking forward to the show all year. She plans to bring 20 friends and family members, including her grandmother from Mexico.
"It's basically my graduation," she said. "I'm super-duper excited for it. I wear braces, and I'm having my braces taken off two days before the show."
Loyd is in her fourth year as a fashion design and merchandising instructor at Flowing Wells. She's been sewing since childhood and also weaves, crafts with paper and makes her own polymer clay beads she uses in jewelry.
"I hope to inspire students to discover their hidden creative talents," Loyd said. "They learn skills they can use to pursue a career in the fashion industry, whether in design, retailing, display or styling. They also can utilize their skills to create unique one-off pieces for themselves or private clients. They learn how to use their interpersonal communications skills by working with models, building their confidence to work with clients."
Loyd teaches three levels of fashion classes. In the first, she teaches design basics and how they apply to fashion. Students learn to do fashion sketches, use a sewing machine and put together a basic clothing construction portfolio. Eventually, they make a garment they model in the fashion show.
In the next level of the class, students learn new clothes construction techniques and how to make alterations. They also take on various design and clothing-making challenges.
In the advanced-level class, students put together a clothing collection of their own and plan and organize the show.
Loyd also teaches a theater-costume design class; students in that class create costumes for the school's drama productions.
Loyd's fashion students are predominantly female, but the program is becoming more popular with males, with athletes Jordan Lugo and Carlos Osuna leading the way.
"Sometimes people tease me about it, but they're just messing around, said Lugo, a 15-year-old sophomore who plays basketball and football and runs track. "I took it as something different, as a good elective, and found an interest in it."
Osuna, a 16-year-old sophomore who plays soccer and volleyball, didn't want to take the class at first, but now is so enthusiastic about it that he dreams of a career as a designer in London.
"I want to get my name out there and make my stuff famous," he said, adding that any male friends who were skeptical of his choice in classes backed off when they realized his talent for the work. "I want to possibly have my own clothing store and stuff."
Amanda Real, a 17-year-old senior who plans to attend Pima Community College and the University of Arizona, wants to take the skills she learns in the class and apply them to a career in retail management.
She said Loyd helps students reach their fashion potential.
"She's very supportive, and she's really helpful," Real said. "She tries her best to help you in every kind of way."
Osuna said the class gives him something to look forward to.
"In most other classes, you sit down and do work," he said. "In this class, you get to make clothes, experience other designers and do it on class time."
IF YOU GO
• What: Fusion 3, Flowing Wells High School's fashion show.
• When: 6 p.m. Friday; doors open at 5 p.m.
• Where: 3725 N. Flowing Wells Road.
• Admission: $5.
Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or firstname.lastname@example.org