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Student-designed, nightlife-themed dresses on display at Centennial Hills Library

SWCTA Fashion Showcase

Three of the dresses, displayed here at the Centennial Hills Library, designed by junior fashion students at Southwest Career and Technical Academy for their winter showcase. Their work will be featured at the library until the end of January. Launch slideshow »

Inspired by their hometown’s nightlife, students in the fashion program at Southwest Career and Technical Academy designed dresses for their winter showcase with the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip in mind.

Eight dresses from the show, “Las Vegas Lights,” are now on display at the Centennial Hills Library. The display is open to the public through the end of January.

It was the fashion show’s inaugural year, said Cassandra Pawling, who teaches the fashion program at SWCTA, one of the magnet schools in the Clark County School District. More than 40 juniors were divided into groups of three and four, and then asked to design a dress that fit with the “Las Vegas Lights” theme.

Lashay Knapik, who won the showcase with partners Corey Tyndall and Meghan Wolslegel, said her group wanted to “show a showgirl, but in a classy way.” That idea manifested itself as a fitted black dress with an elaborate shoulder piece and “tear drops” down the side.

For Knapik, who attended Liberty High School before coming to SWCTA, the pleasure in design is seeing her ideas come to life.

“I love fashion because you get to create things from your mind,” she said.

Tyndall said the trio was inspired by the “higher-end aspects of Vegas.” Formerly a student at Palo Verde, she said she has long known that she wants to work in the industry, and SWCTA has given her a chance to explore that dream.

In April 2010, she earned a medal in the “Apparel and Accessories Marketing Role Play” competition at the DECA International Career Development Conference in Louisville, Ky. Tyndall said she hopes to attend business school when she graduates from SWCTA before pushing into the fashion world.

“I’ve been wanting to dress myself for as long as I can remember,” she said. “When I think back on memories, it’s usually based on what I was wearing at the time.”

Knapik, Tyndall and Wolslegel received pattern drafting supplies, sewing machines and fitting forms -- donated by the Vecchiarelli Brothers from Los Angeles – for winning the showcase in December.

Pawling invited more than 400 friends, family and faculty to the show, and the whole crowd served as judges, she said. Dressed in professional attire, the students presented their projects and took criticism and questions from the audience.

“They were so confident and well spoken. They knew exactly what they needed to,” she said. “It was a very rewarding experience for me as a teacher.”

Next up, Pawling added, is a spring show at the Fashion Show Mall, where the students will design and then don their own prom dresses.

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