Fashion Foundation: Alum finds bright future

When Juan Novoa was student in the Southern Westchester BOCES Career Fashion Design and Merchandising program eight years ago, he had no idea that his future would be so bright.

This holiday season, Mr. Novoa was the lead designer in the Lumagica holiday light display at Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard in North Salem. He explained that Lumagica is a global company that originated in Europe and currently has more than 22 light parks throughout the world. The display in Westchester County is the first in this country.

Guests enjoy a walking tour of the 500,00 LED lights that are featured in the installation. The display took 24 hours to install and eight months to design and plan.

“The overarching theme is being in family,” Mr. Novoa said of this particular display. “After a troubling year, I wanted to bring forth a sense of being around the ones we love.”

The event includes seven themed areas: Arctic Freeze, Fallen Rock, Candy Cane Lane, Great Migration, Keeping the Tradition, Starry Night and Into the Rainbow.

Following his graduation from Port Chester High School and the Careers Center in 2013, Mr. Novoa attended the State University of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and soon began to design clothing for private clients. He eventually moved away from fashion and into visual design. He has worked for some of the biggest names in retail, including Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Cartier.

“I now work in the experiential design side,” Mr. Novoa said, “where I create a storyline for an immersive experience — creating visual designs, installation plans, marketing strategies and installing on location.”

How did he come to recognize studying Fashion Design and Merchandising would benefit his future endeavors?

“I knew it was a great opportunity since it prepares you for college,” he said of the Careers Center.

He continued, “It enhanced my skills and narrowed down exactly what I wanted to do. Being in Ms. G’s class allowed me to learn new skills that put me in a higher level once in college,” he said referring to his former teacher Carmen Galiano.

He also learned how expansive the design world is and that it encompassed more than fashion.

“The world of design, whether it’s fashion, graphic or, in my case, experiential, has a similar foundation that allows you to learn the basics and adapt them to a career that best suits your design interest,” he said.

While he no longer works in fashion design, he uses the same elements and concepts used in that industry, including current trends, colors and design, all of which, he said, “allow me to be a part of this ever-growing industry.”

“I want to thank Ms. Galiano and Eileen Yip and the BOCES center and all who contribute to a community of building brighter futures and allowing students of all backgrounds to find their voice and excel in their careers,” Mr. Novoa said.

He still keeps in touch with his fashion teacher, Ms. Galiano, who made a point of seeing Lumagica for herself along with guidance counselor Ms. Yip.

“Of course, as his teacher I am beyond proud,” Ms. Galiano said. The two met at the event and took a photo together to remember the occasion.

Lumagica at Harvest Moon runs through Dec. 30. For more information, visit