How I Found the Designer in Me During High School

August 25th, 2017 at 2:00am

When I was in high school, I always stood out in the crowd by wearing ‘different’ outfits. I would wear flannels, ripped jeans, and a graphic T-shirt. Granted, it was the years 2013-2015 so I was really standing out for my small town in Alabama.

This is when I became completely obsessed with fashion, real fashion. How different outfits really show how a person has individuality and a personal style. I would drive an hour to go to the closest mall and just look around all day and window shop to get ideas and inspiration. My senior year of high school I got the opportunity to participate in the Rising Design Competition for Birmingham Fashion Week.

For the competition you were told to make an outfit out of ‘non-traditional’ materials under a category that supported Alabama; for example, agriculture, technology, etc. I chose technology because it was something I could really be creative with. I decided to do a skirt out of sheet music folded and stapled. The top was made out of screened in porch material, with hot glued piano keys on top with crushed computer board on the shoulders. All hooked together by a command strip!

I made it to the top 20 of the competition out of 150; this is when I realized that I really love designing and designing is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Following what I loved to do lead me to great experiences and opportunities to meet new people throughout this field of study.

Fast forward a year and a half later and I am at The University of Alabama studying apparel design. One of our projects was to make something out of non-traditional materials for a fashion show called “Tee Time.”

This time around I made an entire outfit out of white paper. It was a huge hit and I was very proud of my work. If I hadn’t been different in high school, I would have never been lead to do Birmingham Fashion Week. Then I wouldn’t be at the University of Alabama studying apparel design and then I wouldn’t be participating in this internship today.

By working hard you will find that being goal oriented is the best way to really figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. If it has to do with design or anything fashion related, keep something big in mind at all times.

My advice for people who are having issues deciding whether they really want to study design in college is do not second guess yourself and constantly carry a notebook with you around. Write down any inspiration you see and anything you think might make you smile about fashion. It keeps you engaged and you never know how it will help you in the future with your career. Also, if you love something it will follow you forever and you will be successful in it.

Is there something that made you love fashion? Let me know in the comments below!


  • Allie Gipson

    Hello Fashionistas! My name is Alexandria Gipson but I go by Allie. I am a lover of all things fashion. You typically see me in something solid or floral. I represent the University of Alabama as a Junior in their Apparel Design Program!