Fashion Design students' costume creations highlight Halloween's allure

Voting by their Careers Campus peers will decide whose designs impressed most

Halloween may be over but one task remains for students in Carmen Galiano’s Fashion Design & Merchandising class.

Presented with a half-dozen shopping bags filled with costumes and accessories from Ms. Galiano’s Halloweens past, they were asked to create original costumes. The results are on display in the Building B hallway, where their peers from across the Careers Center campus paraded through on Wednesday to vote for their favorites.

“This is fashion styling,” said Ms. Galiano, explaining the project. “You put together the look that you want. Although these are not sewn and made by my students, these are styles.”

Fashion styling is an important aspect of the fashion design industry, she said. It takes skill to pick from dozens of hats, wigs, masks, jackets and fabric remnants and assemble a coherent and attractive combination. 

What they worked with were leftovers from her own costume designs — “I love Halloween,” she said. “I dress up every single year.” — and costumes donated by friends and family.

“It’s another aspect of the fashion industry,” she said. “They put ensembles together and accessorize, do hair and makeup. They collect and gather and assemble the look.”

The result is that each design looks like it was meant to go together. One mannequin bearing two students’ design was inspired initially by just a wig. They took it from there and created an elaborate costume that looks store-bought.

“People spend millions on Halloween every year,” Ms. Galiano said. “This is an industry.”

She assigned her students to work in pairs, requiring them to collaborate creatively but also allowing them to share the physical work of dressing and accessorizing the life-sized mannequins.

Another piece of the project was digital marketing. Students photographed their designs and created mock Instagram presentations to show the finished work and the creative process. 

“I didn’t have to teach much here,,” Ms. Galiano said. “They’re savvy on this part. I’m finding a lot of the internship opportunities that we have, they want the students to do digital marketing for them because business owners don’t have the time for that. They definitely have the skills for it.” 

To vote, students from the campus’s 19 other Career Tech programs will scan barcodes that take them to a Google form, where they’ll vote for the most creative fashion styling, the best visual display, and the best digital marketing. The contest motivates them but also prepares them for what will be a competitive field. 

“It has to matter,” said Ms. Galiano. “In this industry Halloween is something you can do and get paid for.”

Diana Lopez of New Rochelle and Ian Orellana of Port Chester created a design they call the Raven, featuring a black feather boa and mask. Artis Wilkins from Woodlands High and Heaven Brown of New Rochelle were inspired by a leather biker’s hat.

“That’s what we found first and were like, that looks like the character from Clueless,” Artis said, referring to the 1995 cult-classic film. “We just tried to recreate her outfit. We had a whole bunch of random stuff like wigs, non-matching costumes, a whole bunch of different things and we had to mix and match.”

“We just had to have inspiration,” said Heaven. “It helps when you have an idea in your head already. Then if you see it, you can find other stuff that matches your inspiration.”