Weekly Feature

2017-03-08 / Business

Students to display work in Erie 1 BOCES fashion show

The eighth annual Erie 1 BOCES fashion show, FUSION, will feature the hand-designed and -produced apparel of high school students from across Western New York who are involved in Erie 1 BOCES’ fashion design and merchandising program.

Kenmore West High School student Mark Patenaude will be one of 11 students from nine school districts whose work will be showcased at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 16, in the Campbell Student Union Social Hall at Buffalo State College.

Patenaude said his study of fashion sprang from an interest in cosplay, which is a contraction of the words costume play and refers to dressing as a character from a movie, book or video game.

“As a cosplayer, I originally joined this program to learn more about machine sewing and fabric construction,” he said. “But I wound up heavily enjoying the subject and stayed with it, regardless of the fact that it can get really hard sometimes.”

He noted that his favorite aspect of the industry is the link between constructing garments and illustrating them.

According to Patenaude, constructing garments allows him to be hands-on and make something he can physically touch and wear if he wanted to, but he also likes the creativity of Photoshop layouts, even when creating one as an advertisement.

Patenaude said the Erie 1 BOCES program has proved invaluable.

“While at Erie 1 BOCES, I have gained more than I ever hoped to achieve,” he said. “I have gained amazing friends and even more extraordinary skills that I can’t wait to put to good use in my career field.”

He plans to study communications at Erie Community College and then transfer to Buffalo State College to pursue a degree in fashion merchandising.

Tonawanda High School student Carah Kozakowski will also be featured in the March 16 show. She said her designs drew on inspiration from coast to coast.

“I wanted to create looks that were original that no one’s seen before. I combined California and New York City’s weather. I was inspired by the circus for the avant-garde piece … a black pleather skirt with a circus vibe 3-D skirt around it. I used a Hula-Hoop wrapped in twine and then feathers and more twine hanging off of it. This is supposed to pretend that hips are wider than they are and bring in a wild feel to the collection.”

Kozakowski said the Erie 1 BOCES program has helped her discover many things she didn’t know about fashion and cemented her desire for a career in the industry.

“It made it easy to set my heart on something and give me hope during the tough times of high school. This showed me another path I could take after high school.”

After graduation, she plans to pursue a fashion merchandising degree.

Nicole Caputi’s work will also be showcased.

“Fashion has always amazed me how it communicates so much about ourselves to others,” she said, “conveying emotions, interests and personality without saying a word. I find the fashion industry inspiring in its ability to influence, and be influenced by, today’s constantly changing culture.”

Caputi said she most enjoys the process of bringing her fashion ideas from drawing to finished work, which, for this show, will feature a sophisticated retro look.

“The original inspiration for my collection was structured confusion, a blend of classic design and artistic twists. I wanted to incorporate contrasts that look organic and inorganic, hard and soft, simple and intricate. I aimed to evoke a feeling of glamour, opulence and romance in reference to the 1950s.”

Caputi noted that the Erie 1 BOCES program has developed not only her design skills, but her creative thinking ability as well, by giving her a solid foundation from which she can express that creativity.

The show is free. For ticket reservations, contact Darlene Meek at dmeek@e1b.org by March 10.

The event will also serve as a drop-off site for the annual Prom Dress Drive organized by Erie County Legislator Lynne Dixon.

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