Paint It Red Showcases Student Designers' Fashions
The all-American Ralph Lauren grew up playing basketball and baseball before becoming a menswear sales assistant. Giorgio Armani trained to be a doctor before going to the army and later working at a Milanese department store. Coco Chanel grew up in an orphanage where she learned to sew. All of the iconic designers that have shaped the fashion industry not only came from a wide range of backgrounds, but have created the gamut of clothing styles that we see today. Many high school students have found their passion for the fashion industry through the fashion icons of their generation and past generations.
Leading Ladies, a young women’s service organization that encourages students to volunteer in the community, hosted Paint it Red. Paint it Red is an annual event that offered young designers an opportunity to showcase their work while giving back to the community by donating proceeds to the American Heart Association. Held on May 5, this fashion show attracted young and old alike to see the creative outfits of these up and coming designers.
The Leading Ladies chairs worked hard to find designers in all schools and friend groups. Junior and Paint it Red Corporate Sponsorships Chair Andrea Lechin described the first step of the Paint it Red process — finding the designers.
“To recruit people, we would go around and ask students with an interest that was really notable if they would like to design clothes and meet people in the fashion industry,” Lechin said. “We also found a lot of our designers through social media.”
All of the designers hoped to be able to put their names out there in the fashion industry. But, junior and designer Lily Southard had some other motivations for participating.
“I decided to design for Paint it Red because I love creating for a good cause,” Southard said. “I used to make and sell jewelry and give the proceeds to Breast Cancer Awareness, so this charity event really interested me. I was glad to design clothes to receive donations for the American Heart Association.”
The responsibility of Leading Ladies has been past on year by year to younger generations of students. Junior and head Paint it Red chair Madeline Wentworth’s interest in Leading Ladies and Paint it Red piqued because of her sister’s success.
“I have been in Leading Ladies for a little over a year now,” Wentworth said. “I have been involved in Paint it Red for three years. In the beginning, I remember going to see my sister’s [Hayden Wentworth] designs. It was the first time she really got into fashion. And then the next two years, I modeled for her. Through that, I got more involved and talked to the advisor, Randall Mckinney, more. It was cool seeing Paint it Red before being a chair because it helped me understand what the event was about. I am glad we made it a big event this year because I see how much it helped my sister succeed her in goals and eventually go to college to study fashion design.”
Whether creating streetwear or formal wear, the designers all had unique approaches to their creations. Southard described where she got her clothing inspiration from.
“I always try to design clothes for my friends who are models,” Southard said. “One of my models did not have a prom dress, so I decided to surprise her and create a prom dress that she could wear free of charge. I love doing things that make other people happy, so that has also become one of my greatest inspirations for designing.”
Leading Ladies member and junior Myka Serwatka discussed her thoughts around why Paint it Red was an important event.
“We have worked so hard to raise money for this organization,” Serwatka said. “Because at the end of the day, helping our community is the best thing anyone can do, and that is where my interest in not only Leading Ladies, but also Paint It Red comes from.”
The designers were given the chance to showcase their work for potential opportunities in the future. Junior and designer Hajra Alvi discussed how she created new and innovative designs for Paint It Red in particular.
“I enjoy fabric painting a lot, which is why I incorporated that into the designs,” Alvi said. “Also, I was able to push my limits by distressing the clothing to add some flair. I also really liked being able to feature some of the work that are prototypes for my business, CLEO. I hope that I can do something with fashion directing in the future.”
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