SM North students, PTSA host first-ever fundraiser show with fashion, art, auto exhibits

Mya Hopkins, a senior at SM North, designed a small outfit for her class to put on display at the fashion show last weekend.

Shawnee Mission North students have just hosted their first-ever joint fundraiser with PTSA that showcases student artwork and fashion designs.

Funds raised from MODA: Aesthetic * Art * Auto will go toward all clubs and student organizations at the high school. The fundraiser, which took place Saturday in the field house, included two juried opening events, an art show and auto show, as well as a juried main event, the fashion show.

Jocelyn Bennett, PTSA president at SM North, said the event name “Moda” was fitting because it is Spanish for “fashion or style.”

SM North students Connor Bell (left) and Chloe Gutowski shared design ideas with each other on their garments for the fashion show last weekend.

“We hope that it continues, because fashion shows are always fun,” Bennett said, adding that they hoped to raise $5,000 this first year. “It would be great if this became a tradition, because it’s a fun thing.”

But why art, fashion and auto into one showcased event? Bennett said another goal of the fundraiser, as a student-led event, is to showcase as much student work in one exhibit as possible. The public was also invited to participate in the auto show.

“The whole point of raising the funds is involving students and getting them to kind of own it themselves,” she said, adding that it also gives them real-world experience for events like this in the future. “Getting more students involved meant having a couple of different areas of interest, and auto, art and fashion are not sports teams that are really, really busy right now.”

Bennett, who is also in charge of the fashion show, said students who signed up to create a garment for the show, are tasked with used upcycled material to design their own unique outfit.

“They can’t walk into somewhere and buy an outfit and just wear something cool,” she said. “They actually have to alter it.”

Samples of upcycled clothing for student inspiration.

Many of these students are actually taking fashion classes, but a few are just interested in fashion merchandising and apparel.

The fashion show included multiple entries from SM North students who design new garments and put them on display. The auto show had more than two dozen entries, nearly all of them from students as well. And the art show had nearly 15 students signed up.

Chloe Gutowski, a senior, and Connor Bell, a sophomore, have both designed outfits for the fashion show. Both of them enjoy dabbling with new design concepts and plan to take fashion classes next semester.

Gutowski designed an outfit that replaces strips from the top and bottom with see-through material. Bell planned out a puffer jacket that would become a crop top, and repurpose the cropped part of the jacket into a skirt.

“I’ve always had ideas on doing something like this, but this is the first time I’ve ever applied myself to be able to do something like this,” Bell said.

Mya Hopkins, a senior studying apparel, designed a miniature dress to put on display at the fashion show. She’s considering taking college-level business and fashion classes and maybe start her own clothing line.

Judges for the fashion show included Britt Benjamin and Audrey Michaelis, fashion merchandising instructors at Johnson County Community College. Judges for the art show included Jane Mallonee and Ruthe Goff, retired Shawnee Mission art teachers. And judges for the auto show included Michael Wichtendahl, an auto tech instructor at Kansas City Kansas Community College, and Nick Troyer with Casey’s Automotive in Mission.