“I’ve loved fashion and modeling since I was nine years old,” said LFLA senior Katie Pichon, “I used to watch Project Runway, and I was really inspired by the designers on that show.”
Little did Katie know that only few years later, she would be in class learning about fashion design from Laura Kathleen Baker, one of the designers she watched compete on Project Runway. Laura Kathleen helped start the fashion design program at Lift For Life Academy over five years ago, and today, it has grown to have three levels of classes and an annual fashion show at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis.
While Laura Kathleen is no longer an instructor, she is still an active contributor on the LFLA Board of Directors, and Mrs. Elizabeth Wagner and Ms. Alexis Cook have done an amazing job instructing LFLA fashion students. Ms. Cook had amazing things to say about Kate’s work in her fashion design class.
“Katie is very good at what she does in class,” said Ms. Cook. “She really stands out- she’s prepared and ready for every class. She’s self-taught on many techniques before we even learn them in class. She’s very motivated and wants to go into fashion and she’s helping the other students succeed.”
While Katie has been able to kick-start her budding fashion career by showing her designs at LFLA’s Celebrating Success Fashion Show for the past two years, she has also taken her own strides to leave an impact in the St. Louis fashion community. She has modeled with the local organization, Sisters of Hope, and had her design selected to be shown in the Lindenwood University Spring Fashion Show.
“I’m also working on a design for a woman I met through the Sisters of Hope program,” said Katie. “She’s going to a relative’s wedding and wants me to design her dress for the event. I’m lucky to have Ms. Alexis’ insight and input while I’m getting started with these projects. Hearing about her success in the community, it really encourages me and really encourages me to do what she’s doing.”
Katie may be referring to Ms. Cook’s designs being featured in Gazelle STL and St. Louis Fashion Week, or she may be referring to her winning designs in local competitive fashion shows like the Garbage Bag Gala and Pins And Needles Fashion Show. Despite her individual success, Ms. Cook believes that it is important to continue passing her knowledge and love of fashion on to a younger generation of students.
“I don’t think a lot of students know how to pursue fashion design,” said Ms. Cook, “because they don’t have the classes and resources to learn about it at an early age. But here at LFLA, they have those resources. It helps the students get ahead of the game if they really want to pursue design.”
However, Ms. Cook thinks that Katie has much more than just good resources and strong support. She also has a lot of talent.
“She’s definitely strong in sewing and construction,” said Ms. Cook, “and she’s also very good at drawing. A lot of designers might be very good at one element of design work and then need a lot of help with another facet, but Katie is very competent all across the board. She’s very motivated and focused. She’s humble and enjoys the work.”
While Katie is enjoying the recognition she’s already gaining for her work, she has plans to continue sharpening her skills by studying fashion design at either Lindenwood University or Clark Atlanta University after graduating this coming May. She hopes to become even more proficient in design management so that she can open her own store one day. By sharing her clothing with the community around her, Katie hopes to share a message that has been important during her journey at Lift For Life Academy.
“I like my clothes to help people realize that they should be confident in their own skin and to love what they do,” said Katie. “When I started at Lift For Life, my personality could be described as a gray color, because I was shy and just wanted to blend in. But now, six years later, I see myself as having a neon blue personality. I’m still calm and laid-back, but I’m also more comfortable in my skin and confident in who I am. I like that better because I love bright, bold colors.”
Check out Ms. Alexis Cook on Fox 2 News