New fashion and design class helps LPS students craft their path to success

Emily is designing a successful future this semester through a new class that is teaching her about everything from textiles to paint textures.
The Southwest High School sophomore is joining dozens of her Lincoln Public Schools classmates in a course called Intro to Fashion and Interior Design. LPS added the class this year to give students at all eight high schools the chance to continue pursuing the career pathways. They are learning about the elements and principles of design, the materials and products used in both fashion and interior design and the skills needed for both industries.
Emily said she was happy when she learned the course would be available this year. She said it will provide a major boost to her future prospects.
“I’d like to go into interior design for a career, so I think this course is going to help me,” Emily said. “I like being creative and figuring out solutions to problems, so it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve enjoyed it so far.”
Fellow Southwest sophomore Sydney also gave a glowing review about the course. Sydney took the class during the first semester after hearing it would be available. She said learning about the scientific aspects of fashion and interior design – analyzing synthetic and natural fibers, testing durability of floor covers and studying how fabrics absorb dyes – was valuable.
“It was interesting to learn how much science goes into these careers,” Sydney said. “It was really eye-opening. We got to see how fabrics have different properties and how different materials react when they’re put under pressure. I thought that part was really important.”

Kristin Vest is curriculum coordinator of family and consumer sciences (FCS) and health sciences at LPS. She said many students had expressed interest in taking more FCS courses once they reached high school. They had positive experiences in their middle school classes and wanted to continue learning about the subjects.
“We didn’t have this type of class available at our high schools before this year, which was something that we knew needed to be addressed,” Vest said. “We had students that were saying, ‘I don’t see my class that I had in eighth grade.’ Offering this class now gets them connected with great teachers and great ideas in high school, which is wonderful.”
Vest said the interactive setup of the fashion and interior design class mirrored the creative energy found in both of those fields. She said those types of lesson plans would motivate more students in the future.
“It’s absolutely key,” Vest said. “They look at classes like this, where we’re providing a lot of great introductory content about a number of careers, and they say, ‘This is something I might be interested in doing.’ It’s really good for students.”

Vest said older students have also been good role models for those in the class. 

Funds from the 2020 bond issue allowed Southwest High School to renovate one of its instructional spaces into a new FCS classroom to better fit the needs for the new courses. FCS courses had previously taken place in one half of the culinary arts classroom, which meant a small amount of space for activities like textile dyeing and fabric inspection. The current room features long worktables with plenty of room for all types of projects and lessons.
Several of those life lessons took place during a two-day activity called a materials lab. FCS teacher McKenzie Geier led students as they rotated through six stations in small groups.
Students in the first station dyed six different types of fabric to see how they absorbed the stains. They burned small patches of six synthetic and natural fibers to compare qualities such as odor and flammability, and they dyed fabric using a wax-dripping method called Batik. They also learned about ways to remove wrinkles from fabric, compared durability levels of six solid floor covers and evaluated paint finishes such as high-gloss and matte.
Emily and her friends talked with excitement as they moved through each project. She said it was helpful to have hands-on activities in class.
“It’s good,” Emily said. “I like that more than just taking notes. Getting to experiment and seeing how things turn out in real life is something that’s a lot of fun. I learn better by doing lessons that way.”
After they finished all six stations at Southwest, students reassembled in the full class to talk about their findings. They learned that linen is made from fibers of the flax plant, which are light, loosely-woven and moisture-wicking. This meant clothes made from linen would be good choices to wear in the summer. This contrasts with the strong nature of wool, which would be a better fabric to wear in the winter.
Geier then pointed to the classroom walls as they discussed various types of paints. She said high-traffic buildings such as schools and hospitals often use high-gloss paints because they are both durable and easy to clean. Matte paints would be a better option for a quieter area such as a home office, because they are sensitive to scratching and rubbing.
Sydney said that type of practical information would help students make good choices in everything from clothes selection to career pathways.
“I learned a lot about design from taking the course,” Sydney said. “It was fun to learn about all of the different things that go into it.”

Do you have a story idea? Share it with the LPS Communications Team by filling out this form!

Published: April 17, 2024, Updated: April 17, 2024

Students in McKenzie Geier's class at Southwest High School compare durability levels of six solid floor covers during a materials lab activity. Students in the new Intro to Fashion and Interior Design course have been learning about a variety of family and consumer sciences topics this semester. The course is being offered at all eight LPS high schools.