It looked like a runway in Paris, Milan or New York. There were slinky models strutting, nattily attired guests snapping pictures, and music was pumping from the sound system. Where was this fashion show? In Miami’s Design District, but these weren’t pros on the catwalk or behind the scenes, they were all high school kids.
“If you have not been to one of our shows before you will feel like you’ve been to Paris right after you leave,” said Ana Alvarez-Arimon, the principal of Design and Architecture Senior High School.
DASH, as it’s commonly known, is a public magnet school. Students are chosen by the quality of their portfolios. The school’s annual fashion show has 120 students involved, including the designers, models, make-up artists and more.
“All the graphics students design logos for their fellow fashion students, the film students are filming and it’s really a nice way to see the student body come together,” said Alvarez-Arimon.
Graduates from the program go to the most prestigious fashion design schools in the world, including Parsons in Paris and New York, Pratt Institute, and the Fashion Institute of Technology.
"Most people are blown away that these are high school students, they just do an impressive job, it’s amazing,” said Rosemary Pringle, the teacher in charge of the DASH fashion design program.
For the seniors in fashion design, this night is the culmination of three years of work. They turn their visions into reality completely by hand. They sew the outfits, they dye the fabrics, they do it all.
"People get to this point in their lives where they get to have a collection or an art exhibition or anything in that creative platform in their late 20’s or 30’s and I’m 18 and I get to do this so it’s awesome, it’s amazing, I’m scared, I’m nervous, everything together,” said David Baptiste, who is going to study fashion design at Parsons School of Design in New York next fall.
Even if you know nothing about fashion, it was obvious the room was full of talent.
"Our collections are basically like our babies and everyone’s done such a great job, it’s exciting to see it all come together,” said senior Fernanda Calderon, who is going abroad to continue her passion at Parsons in Paris. "Everyone just has their own voice and it's so unique and so strong that they pulled it off beautifully, it's really cool."
It was definitely cool for the packed house watching the show. It was also edgy and artsy and accessible, all in one. They called the show "Zeitgeist," defining the moment in fashion. We call it a triumph of vision and hard work.