“Make it work.” Many of us are familiar with those words uttered several times each episode by the iconic instructor Tim Gunn on the reality show, “Project Runway.” As a librarian I can identify with his mantra to the contestants. Often in the library I find myself encouraging students or warning them when they begin research. Recently I started a fashion club at Nashville School of the Arts that meets several times a month as a part of our school’s arts integration program. It occurred to me that fashion really is the perfect way to integrate many different arts: visual, performing, music, and theatre. Many of our students are interested in fashion. One of my favorite parts of the day is getting to check out what students wear to school. Their creativity is mirrored by what they wear.
At first many students were surprised that the new “library lady” was sponsoring a Fashion Club. What do librarians know about fashion, really? Each week the membership continued to grow as did the projects in the library. Students established a bulletin board in the school hallway called “Scene At NSA” featuring students and teachers wearing unique fashion ensembles. For example, our Algebra teacher has a pair of tights with equations written all over them that she wears with some very dramatic shoes. The students really took the lead by establishing and utilizing social media channels to promote fashion and their club at N.S.A. They immediately created Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts. I have found ways to incorporate books on photography, fashion, and modeling as well as DVDs such as “The September Issue” about the annual Vogue magazine.
Last month the Fashion Club invited local hero designer Amanda Valentine to speak to our students. Junior Reggie Green said that meeting Amanda “was amazing and inspirational.” This event attracted over 300 students to our auditorium where Amanda discussed her experiences on the show, her career as a designer and even her days as a high school student. Freshmen Isabella Bustillos said, “I loved how when she was just starting out she didn’t give up, and she tried to come out on top.” She advised students to take Algebra since it was helpful in pattern making. Amanda took countless “selfies” with students who clamored to meet her. On Project Runway, and at N.S.A., she shared the fact that she often finds inspiration in library books and that she can be found working on designs at the Nashville Public Library. She affirmed to students that libraries are great places to pursue your artistic interests and dreams. I couldn’t agree more!
H.Hall - MNPS Librarian
H.Hall - MNPS Librarian