Fashion assignments inspired by pandemic

Fashion: A sign of the times

Like so many teachers in recent weeks, Carmen Galliano had to pivot from leading a hands-on learning environment to an online one. During this time, the fashion design and merchandising teacher at the Center for Career Services noticed that one thing had not changed – the fact that inspiration for fashion trends can come from anywhere.

With that in mind, she recently gave her students assignments inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As I always say, fashion is a reflection of what's happening all around us,” Ms. Galiano said. “So, students are working on themes for when we do go outside again, such as Quarantine Couture, Lockdown Leisure Looks, Remote Worker Wardrobe, Frontline Essential Ensembles and Protection Apparel.”

Students are also continuing to work on practicing their fashion drawing skills as they think about and design clothing that is related to the pandemic fashion themes.

In addition, students are also working on making protective masks, a project they began working on in March before the pandemic forced schools to close\

“Now that Governor Cuomo has mandated masks to be worn by everyone, it has become a new fashion necessity,” Ms. Galiano said.

Students who have access to a sewing machine at home were given fabric and other tools to make masks for themselves and their family members. Those who do not have sewing machines at home were given the necessary materials to make no-sew versions with cut-up old T-shirts or bandanas.

Ms. Galiano is using Google Classroom to share assignment information and Google Meets to chat with her students throughout the week.

In addition to their class work, students are also responsible for Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) assignments. In this instance, they are required to write a résumé and cover letter for a specific job. They also need to find examples of appropriate attire for job interviews for both men and women, as well as answer common interview questions. This assignment helps to fulfill a students’ CDOS credential. 

One challenge that Ms. Galiano has encountered was how to proceed with the biannual fashion show. Every other year, her students put on a show that highlights their work. All students at the Center for Career Services campus, as well as special guests, are invited to the event which is modeled after a high-end fashion show.

As the reopening of schools has yet to be established by New York State, the fashion show might not take place. Since students have not had access to fabric and they have lost much sewing time, Ms. Galiano has been looking into the possibility of having students create videos of the work they have completed at home. The individual student videos would be assembled into one long video compilation to highlight the students’ work. 

Ms. Galiano said that students would be welcome to use whatever styles they create at home, whether they repurposed articles of clothing or made something new.

“They can even be creative with non-conventional materials,” she said. “We'll see how that goes when they begin the assignment.”