One local teen has always dreamed of executing her own fashion show, filled with her own designs, looks and vision.
A majorly self-taught seamstress and AP student at Providence High School, 16-year-old Jacqueline Fogarty’s dream is actually coming true. This September she’ll have the chance of a lifetime when she participates as the youngest designer in the Charlotte NC Fashion Week’s history. And with her junior year of high school kicking off right in the midst of alterations for her eight different looks, she’s got some long nights and focused days ahead.
“I was so excited when I found out I would have the opportunity. It’s exactly what I wanted to do when I get older,” she said. “It really is a dream come true.”
Jacqueline has loved clothes and designing ever since she can remember, first experimenting with duct tape purses and other crafty projects. But at age 9, she wanted more of a challenge and thought sewing was the answer, a surprise to her mom Pat, who said memories of home economics still haunt her today. Jacqueline is the only one in her family who can sew.
In the beginning, Jacqueline attended a weeklong summer camp on sewing, mostly learning to use her new sewing machine. But beyond that, she mostly developed her craft through trial and error and Internet tutorials. Then, after convincing her parents, Jacqueline spent the past three summers at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
“There I learned some different techniques of pattern making, which was invaluable with trying to create your own designs. Once you know the basics, you can basically make anything you want, which is exciting because I’ve made it to the point where I can sketch it and then create it,” she said.
And now, her practice and determination has paid off. On Sept. 13, the night of her show, she’s in charge. For the first time, she is dictating everything, from the clothes, hair, make-up, shoes and even music.
“Basically, it was actually kind of a surprise” to learn I would be a designer in fashion week this year, Jacqueline said. “I stumbled on Charlotte NC Fashion Week a couple of years ago when it was held at Founder’s Hall.”
A seamstress for several years at the time, she thought Fashion Week would be a great opportunity to kick-start her career.
So when she contacted Anthony Simons, director of the Sept. 12 to 15 event, she had some convincing to do.
“I first emailed him and then he said if you’re serious about this, you can fill out a registration form,” she said. “ I had to go in for an interview with him, too, so I showed him some sketches for the show and some previous things I had worked on.”
Jacqueline said Simons wasn’t convinced because of her young age at first. Most registrants are at least 18 years old. But after seeing her designs, she said Simons saw some potential.
“She had a couple of pieces that she initially showed me that were pretty interesting – a coat that transformed into a short jacket. It has unique buttons made out of screws,” Simons said. “While her designs were not a full collection, her individual pieces are just really different and unique to what she wanted to express.”
Simons said he meets with all the designers that are local to see their collections before allowing them to be in the show, focusing on their designs and quality of sewing.
“We typically look for someone with a cohesive collection, but with someone like Jacqueline, we saw promise,” Simons said. “We want to encourage her to continue to do what she is doing.”
Jacqueline’s collection consists of eight pieces, from a vintage crochet top with lace corset, to a long red evening gown with red chiffon draping.
“Sewing is my favorite part of it,” Jacqueline said. “I’ve always liked to solve my own problems and I also enjoy dreaming up the designs and then seeing it form in front of you.”
Jacqueline also is a member of the golf team, an officer in the Math Honor Society and started the Fashion Club at Providence High this year. So far, she’s a straight A student, she said.
“It’s interesting almost having this alternate life,” she said, “but I’m excited to finally be an equal in fashion week. It’s exciting being considered an actual designer.”