While most of the world has been focused on the dress worn by Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars, over at Communities In Schools, we are more interested in a different set of threads: Those being crafted by our students involved in the fashion club at Milwood Magnet Middle School. The club, Culture Couture, is part of Milwood’s current After School Program, run by CIS, and is designed to highlight high-end fashion from around the globe. The girls (6th-8th grade) are creating their own original pieces—with the help of some star volunteers—to enter into the spring fashion show put on by M.O.D.A. (Merchandising Opportunities and Design Association) through Western Michigan University.
When I entered the room there were several different groups of kids, each surrounded by various fabrics, pin cushions, measuring tape, and all the essentials of sewing. Volunteers were interacting with the kids, teaching them how to load a spool, run the thread, and operate the pedal. I definitely heard a few “Slow down!” instructions. The excitement of the students was palpable. The volunteers patiently listened to descriptions of fantastic dresses and then helped the kids work through the step by step process of constructing each piece.
The reward of this project is in the connections that are formed: between the volunteers and the kids, among peers, and with the process itself. With the pace of life so accelerated, sewing often feels like a lost art these days. At the end of this project these kids will know more than how to sew on a button, they will have learned how to work, as a team, toward a common goal, how to plan and organize their time, and how to create something beautiful together.
And the winner for best collaborative wardrobe design goes to our students.
Tags: afterschool programming, CIS, Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo, fashion club, Kaitlin Martin, M.O.D.A., Merchandising Opportunities and Design Association, Milwood Magnet Middle School, Western Michigan University