Petersburg student's passion for fashion recognized in national competition

Posted at 10:35 AM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 10:42:58-04

PETERSBURG, Va. — They’re on pins and needles in Petersburg — or “sew” it “seams”.

A national fashion competition will be decided this week, and a Petersburg High School student's future looms on the outcome.

"I won first place in the state fashion competition," said rising eleventh grader Angel Harrison. “Basically, I had to make a gown collection and sell it to the panel."

The panel bought in big time.

Angel is the first student from Petersburg to make it to the high school fashion design national competition.

That’s not bad for someone who didn't know fashion basics a couple of years ago.

Her teacher, Ms. Newton-Bolling said she was surprised at how good Angel was from the beginning.

"We actually started, and she was like, 'Oh. I'm going to take this class and see what I can come up with.' And from there she came in and it was just like...are you sure you have never sewn before?!" recalled Newton-Bolling.

Building Better Minds Fashion Class 1 .jpg
Ms. Newton-Bolling

Angel came up with something unique: Kitropiki, which is Swahili for "tropical".

"I based my whole gown collection on the tropical rain forest because they're the most endangered habitat on earth. My whole collection is based on animals and plants in the tropical rain forests."

It helps learning from a fashion industry vet like Newton-Bolling, who will tell you it takes more than needles and thread to succeed.

"It's not just sitting at a sewing machine. It's showing them the digital artwork. Showing them where they can turn their designs into something that somebody else would want. And how to make money doing it," she explained.

Building Better Minds Fashion Class 2.jpg

A dress for success also involves teamwork.

"Omar [a fellow student] helped me because he can do the digital artwork and stuff," said Angel. “And he has the good material, so he helped on that part."

A passion for fashion is building great clothing designs — and Building Better Minds.

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