High school seniors turn the Goodwill Store into a fiesta fashion show

A Goodwill store on the far West Side was transformed this week by high school grads showcasing their fashion design work — sustainable design because the colorful outfits were curated and modified from donated clothes found there.

At Wednesday night’s Fiesta fashion show, 20 student models walked down a catwalk to the tune of DJ Chillout Sensation’s “Angel on the Catwalk” and passed a crowd of about 100 parents, community members and a few surprised thrifty customers randomly wandered in.

The seniors behind the show are part of Stevens High School’s entrepreneurship and fashion program. They learn about marketing, display design, customer service and fashion curation because they dream of not only working in the fashion industry but owning a fashion company.

The class volunteer twice a week at the Goodwill shop on Potranco Road.

“Fashion is a way of expressing yourself,” said Che’ron Brown, a senior at Stevens in the Northside Independent School District. “I have a twin and when I was younger everyone always saw us as ‘the twins,’ they never saw me as an individual, I felt like when I was wearing my outfit or we were wearing different outfits, people finally saw me as me .”

When Brown came to the class, she never saw herself as a retail store owner, but it “kind of opened my eyes to that,” she said.

Each week at Goodwill, students find outfits for the mannequins, design the end caps, greet customers and learn how Goodwill is run as a business.

“I’ve gained a new understanding of how to deal with people in customer service,” said Jessyka Ruiz, a senior who hopes to one day own a personal styling business. “It kind of expanded my social skills because before this class I was very shy and now this class is teaching me how to come out of my shell.”

Jaznett Lopez, a program senior who wants to be an interior designer, was most excited about an outfit she designed, which featured a green embroidered dress and white pants.

“I feel like (the outfit) has something to do with my culture,” Lopez said. “I am spanish. My little sister wanted to be a mariachi so this outfit kinda reminds me of old times and I wanted that to come together.”

The most rewarding part for Lopez happened after the runway show: when customers had a chance to purchase the look she created.

“Seeing customers say, ‘Oh, I want that,’ and then quickly take it and it’s gone,” Lopez said. “It’s a really good feeling.”

The fact that the students can practice their profession using the “surplus amount of clothing in our world” available at Goodwill in their neighborhood instead of using new clothes hasn’t escaped them, said Christine Donovan, fashion teacher from Northside ISD.

Many students have “a passion for sustainability,” and more of them shop at thrift stores, she said.

“It shows that you don’t need high fashion, high-end clothing to have good outfits and be able to express yourself,” Brown said.

Goodwill’s store sells items from the 1950s, says Agosto Cuellar, Goodwill’s customer experience manager and a local sustainable fashion designer who has worked with Stevens High School’s fashion program for about five years.

“Because of this, (Goodwill) is able to attract diverse customers, which shows the students that the retail business is vital,” Cuellar said.

Stevens High School principal Ryan Purtell sat in the audience and cheered on some of his students, who don’t normally get to have their work on display.

Victoria Garcia walks the Fiesta Sustainable Fashion Show at the Goodwill Store on Potranco Road.  Stevens High School students design their own clothing and volunteer at a Goodwill store to learn about retail.  .  (Kaylee Greenlee Beal/Contributor)

Victoria Garcia walks the Fiesta Sustainable Fashion Show at the Goodwill Store on Potranco Road. Stevens High School students design their own clothing and volunteer at a Goodwill store to learn about retail. . (Kaylee Greenlee Beal/Contributor)

Kaylee C Greenlee Beal /

“There’s a lot of things that our kids do that naturally lend themselves (to be exhibited): fine arts, athletics, it’s really easy to get together and clap together,” Purtell said. “But there are a lot of really cool things that kids do (that it’s hard to create a place like this to celebrate.”

[email protected]

Comments are closed.