For some, the pandemic was a welcome relief to don sweatpants and t-shirts as they went about their work and school day from the confines of their home. Clothes are simply something to throw on before you wear your pajamas. But for others, clothes tap into something personal, an expression of one’s individuality.
“I’ve always been interested in fashion. It’s a great way to express yourself and your personal style and creativity. It’s another way for me to show my identity,” said Ava Cashman ’24. This past summer Cashman pursued her sartorial passion and attended a virtual pre-college program with Parsons School of Design and Teen Vogue called “Fashion Industry Essentials” using her stipend as a Martin Nicholson scholar.
This asynchronous program included pre-recorded lessons split into five units with video lessons and assignments. She heard from industry insiders like Brendon Maxwell, the designer of his eponymous brand full of playful and modern looks and other movers and shakers. “They were a source of real inspiration for me. To hear their know-how and their personal experience was something that I really loved. Just through my computer, I was able to connect with them and hear their stories. I absorbed a lot of information listening about their career path,” she said.
One aspect of the program that resonated with Cashman was the career application section because you could understand where your passions lie in a tangle way. “Something I learned through the program that was surprising is that there are a lot more careers in the fashion industry than I initially thought. When I was younger, I viewed fashion as something specifically designed-focused. But, I am passionate about journalism, communications, and marketing. To hear that there’s a way to apply those interests into different avenues in the fashion industry was really interesting,” Cashman said.
Part of the impetus to take this fashion course was a calculated risk on Cashman’s part. This past spring she moved out of her comfort zone and pitched the idea of starting a student-run fashion publication. She credits KO for offering her plenty of opportunities to explore her interests. “I planned and set up the scope of the project, spoke to the faculty advisor, reached out to the upperclassman and the KO News, and put myself out there. I said, ‘Here’s this idea that I have. Who wants to be on board?’ That risk-taking is driving me to take more risks because there’s less fear holding me back because I know that it could become something really great and really beneficial. Sometimes it’s worth taking the risk. You think: ‘Should I hold back? Should pursue this?’ But this risk is very positive for me, and I’m really excited to see where it will go this year,” she said.
Located in West Hartford, CT just steps from Blue Back Square, Kingswood Oxford is a private school inspiring co-ed day students in grades 6-12 with a college preparatory curriculum. Empowered students become clear confident communicators, resourceful problem-solvers, and ethical leaders. KO: where unlimited potential meets endless opportunities.