With countless fabrics, designs and creative minds, Lake Havasu High School Fashion Design teacher Deborah Strother and her students are hard at work creating their fashion design projects and creations to prepare for an upcoming fashion competition.
“Each year we take several students to state competition. Over the years, we have had many medalists,” said Strother.
Strother has taught Fashion Design and Merchandising at Lake Havasu High for nine years as part of the Western Arizona Vocational Education program known as Wave JTED. Before teaching at the high school level, she studied at Glendale College in Glendale, Calif.
“My first teaching job was as a paid class tutor in beginning sewing class at Glendale College,” said Strother.
After college, she went to work for garment manufacturer NR1, where she worked as the assistant to the owner for seven years.
“I had a variety of duties including cost sheets, design meetings, meeting with buyers, and liaison with the factor, to name a few,” she said.
Strother grew up in Southern California and her inspiration and love of fashion came when she first learned to sew at the age of 12, thanks to the women in her family.
“My grandmother and mother were both amazing sewers and fashionistas. They made all of my clothes until I learned how to,” said Strother.
Strother’s passion for fashion has spread to her students and, as a result, she has inspired her students to explore a career in it as well.
“We end each school year with a fashion show where the students “show off” what they have made during the school year,” said Strother.
With the hands-on skills many of her students have learned from her classes, they have succeeded to come back home as medalists at state fashion design competitions including seven national contenders who won three gold, three silver and one bronze medal.
“The students work hard and my advanced classes have the opportunity to go to “Phoenix Fashion Week” every October where they attend professional seminars and a real Fashion Show,” said Strother.
For those interested in seeing the students’ work, the public is invited to the annual Lake Havasu High School Fashion show April 17, at 7 p.m., at the Lake Havasu High School Performing Arts Center located at 2675 South Palo Verde Blvd.
Admission is free to the public and donations are accepted to help fund class trips to Phoenix Fashion Week.
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