Highland High School Fashion Show
by Addelina Lucero
For this particular event, I had a really different perspective than most onlookers, as I was backstage in all the chaos and fun that makes for a good fashion show. Both my children were models in the show and their excitement was contagious.
The practice walks, outfit try-ons and model picks started the Tuesday and Wednesday before the event. These were held at Highland High School. Here, we got to meet a couple of the designers and the awesome Highland High School students and staff who were putting the show together this year. As I understand it, this event is a highly anticipated one for the students, staff, and the Native Community. This is its’ 14th year and is always followed up with a pow wow at the end of April.
The purpose of the event is to raise funds for the Native American Leadership Student organization as well as to support & create awareness for Native style, designs/ers, and overall talent. It’s a very challenging sort of thing to pull off for professionals let alone a small group (8 students and 1 teacher) of non-professionals. There were 4 categories: Pow-Wow, Traditional, Contemporary and Accessories.
The event started off a bit shaky but once the announcers got into their grooves, it went pretty smoothly with a few little “oopsies” here and there. The first designer to be shown was a Navajo designer all the way from Northern Arizona. I do not recall his name but his designs were truly the highlight of the night. This young man truly knows how to “dress” a woman’s body. He was aware of how the garments were going to flow and move with the body. This was evident in the prints he used and the placement of these prints on the garments. (Traditional Category) My faves are as follows:
(Top) Pendleton parka! Need I say more?? (Middle) A royal blue crushed velvet ¾ length sleeve top featuring many copper rivets and pottery cut-outs at bottom over a traditional flower and ribbon brrom skirt. (Bottom) An orange crushed velvet top with pottery design cut-outs, a concha belt over a black broom skirt that featured the same trim as top (not shown) was traditional and very contemporary at the same time.
The next designer featured was Red Wings, and these traditional “pueblo party” designs, mainly for little girls and young ladies, had the crowd applauding. Traditional Category.
(Top) Blue & purple satin party dress with empire waist and puff sleeves (Middle) Pink and purple paisley pueblo party dress worn by my daughter Jilleesa (Middle) Orange and yellow flower pueblo tube dress (Bottom) Turquoise Women’s crushed satin one shoulder, full length dress with front slit.
The next designer was very creative in her use of sheer fabrics. She draped most of her dresses in ways that escaped the “clumpy” look and managed to still be sexy and fun. She was featured in the Contemporary category.
(Top) Black lace covers a black lace, off shoulder and flutter sleeves over a simple black mini dress (Middle) White lycra mini tube dress features a toga inspired front (Middle) White criss cross ruffled frot mini with a sheer ruffled bottom (Bottom) Apricot Tube top with a sheer ruffled left shoulder, banded black belt and apricot print capris.
There were a couple of jewelry and accessories designers there but not much information was made available to the audience. Much of the jewelry you see the models wearing is borrowed from these designers. Here are a few pictures featuring some jewelry and accessories:
(Top) Simple round turquoise bead necklace worn by my son Julian (Bottom) Feathered & Leathered men’s shoulder sash.
The last designer featured was Albuquerque’s own Penny Singer who is also a Highland High Alumni. Penny contributes her time and designs to the Highland High School’s Native American Leadership Fashion Show every year, since its’ inception. Her designs convey traditional with a contemporary feel. She has “Indianized” bolero vests, women’s collarless zip jackets, one-shoulder stapped dresses, and more….. featuring animal and pueblo motifs, and the use of other various elements and shapes.
Singer Classics such as; men’s and boy’s ribbon shirts were featured.
Overall, I think this was a great event. Inspiring! Not only did these students plan the event, they invited all the featured guests, promoted it, entertained, and pulled it off. It was not a professional event, but hey, what do you expect from high school students?
I have been behind the scenes on three fashion shows as a production manager while I was in college and even with over 55 students, planning, organizing, designing clothes and sets, we still had a hard time the days leading up to the event and with the event itself, so I am truly impressed with these youth for all they went through to get this fashion show off the ground. I will be back next year for sure!