Costumes for ComicFest 2019
Look! Up in the sky . . . it’s a custom-made costume!
Students design, make clothing for ComicFest
They may not possess any super powers in the traditional sense, but the work Fashion Design and Merchandising students can do with a needle and thread could very well be categorized as one.
As the year progresses and students develop their skills, their final project is to design and make a garment. This year students are working on a special project.
The theme was cosplay, the art of dressing up as a certain character, and students were tasked with designing and making a costume. Many of them are working on commissioned pieces — creating costumes that will be worn by administrators and teachers at the White Plains ComicFest on April 27.
“The costumes are the first garments they are making,” teacher Carmen Galiano said.
Students worked in pairs or small groups. They began thinking about the individual who would wear the costume they wanted to design and give the character a backstory. From there, students designed a costume that reflected who the character was. One requirement was the costume had to start out as an ordinary outfit and then transform into a costume.
“The sketches were designed in PhotoShop, and now we are making them come to life,” Ms. Galiano said.
Geo Abrigo, a junior at Ardsley High School, was working on a costume for Principal James Matera. Inspiration came from Southern Westchester BOCES.
Geo’s idea required a pattern to be ordered online. From there he selected fabric, affixed the pattern and one afternoon was in the process of notching the pieces — putting marks on the fabric indicating where the two sides of the garment lined up.
“This one is very hands-on,” Geo said.
Stephen Cunza, a senior at White Plains High School, made his own pattern for the special costume he was creating for Assistant Principal Evangelo Michas.
“It’s kind of exciting,” Stephen said as he laid out the pattern he created on top of a large piece of blue fabric.
He said he had to find inspiration for the character who will wear his finished piece and develop a backstory.
This project is also one he is working on for the state SkillsUSA competition April 24, 25, and 26. The theme for the fashion competition this year just happens also to be cosplay.
In previous years, Ms. Galiano said, students would design and make their own clothing for themselves.
The ComicFest attire adds a bit of realism to their fashion design work as they are making a commissioned piece.
“Every design is a job,” Ms. Galiano explained, adding that often in the business a designer will be making a custom-made piece for a specific event.
“That is fashion,” she said. “Being able to do that makes you a better designer.”
Leslie Valdovinos, a junior at New Rochelle High School, was making a costume for a BOCES teacher. She was aware of this superheroine’s back story and how it involves nature.
Lelsie was working on a piece that transforms from an ordinary article of clothing to a superhero cape.
One of the challenges she faced was ensuring the ordinary piece was long enough to serve as a cape after the character’s transformation from person to superhero. The challenge came in ensuring the skirt was not too long.
“It’s pretty stressful,” she said of making something someone else will wear.
There is also a hard deadline students had to meet, which Leslie, said added to the stress.
A few minutes later, though, Leslie was all smiles and the stress was lifted for a time.
After finishing her work at the sewing machine, she dressed a nearby mannequin with the article she had just finished, and she was very pleased with the results.
Working with Leslie was Ariel Garcia, a senior from Eastchester High School. She was working on another piece of the costume, a blouse.
“It’s fun because I just got to learn to do new things,” she said. “I can make my own clothing in the future and can use these techniques.”
Melanie Lopez, a junior at New Rochelle High School, was putting together a pair of pants for a costume she intends to wear.
One of the challenges she faced was putting a stripe down the sides of each leg. She had to be careful so the stripe was the same width on both sides.
“It’s fun and stressful,” Melanie said.
Like her classmate, she had a reprieve from the stress on this day too.
After a brief consultation with Ms. Galiano, Melanie was able to sew the two sides of her pants together. The hems lined up, and the stripes were straight, putting a huge smile on Melanie’s face. She had named her superhero “Omega.”
Adrianna Weekes, a senior at Woodlands High School, was working on another commissioned piece. In this instance, Adrianna could not consult with anyone to develop a backstory for the character. The only information she had was a vague idea of what the character looks like.
“ComicFest has a mascot,” Ms. Galiano said. “They asked us to make the costume for the mascot. We don’t know the story. She is a mysterious hero.”
The only thing Adrianna said she had to work with was that the character has some fire and ice elements. She was thinking of representing these two elements in some kind of arm warmer design or maybe gloves.
The costume will be part of a contest in which guests at the event can vote on a name for this character. This particular costume will be worn by Chef Lisa Rudner, from the Culinary Arts program.
This is not the first time Adrianna has worked on costumes. Earlier in the year she helped make costumes for a school play. Both projects, she said, are similar in that she was working on clothing for someone else.
“I guess the difference is with that first project the people were in my age group,” Adrianna said. “This is for an adult. Also, it’s for a huge event.”
Jaquan Herring, a senior at Alexander Hamilton High School, developed a character he named “Equality,” who fights for equality for all.
Jaquan said after selecting a name for his character, he had to think hard about how to transform an outfit into one for a superhero.
“It feels good,” he said. “It makes you feel good to say ‘I made this.’”
Mr. Matera said he has not seen the costume he will be wearing and is looking forward to it. The only thing he knows about it is it will have props representing BOCES courses.
“We have a nice partnership with the White Plains Youth Bureau and we partner with them on a number of things,” Mr. Matera said. “The Wellness Fair in the Fall at Tibbetts Park in White Plains, and the ComicFest are the two big events.”
This is the second year the center has been participating in ComicFest, Mr. Matera said, adding that other disciplines from the center are also involved, including Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Commercial Art and Architecture & Interior Design and will be at the event.
White Plains ComicFest takes place Saturday, April 27 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Galleria at White Plains, Garden Level 1 (Food Court), 100 Main St., White Plains. For more information visit www.theconatwp.com.