Student Barbie fashion designs come to life

Barbie-inspired designs from pint-sized fashionistas participating in a Yo Art design program came to life in November at a sold-out fashion extravaganza at the Gibbes Museum of Art.
Over the past 15 years, local nonprofit Yo Art has been exposing young students to potential careers in the visual arts from fashion to photography. 
The dazzling doll designs caught the eye of Executive Board President Lori Bate. The Daniel Island resident was so inspired by their raw talent she realized she had to turn the Barbie clothes into life-size styles.
“Watching them develop their garments over a few weeks with our fashion design instructor, Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez, made me think about how I could reach other people, how could I let them know what amazing things they were creating in the classroom? Well, why not through a fashion show and why not make it a spectacular one at the Gibbes!”
Ramirez says this project is among many Yo Art programs that allows students to develop creatively and grow their unique characteristics through the arts.
“Many students at first didn’t find joy in working on the projects but after a couple of days, or for some weeks, their creativity light bulb turned on and they felt safe to start creating. Once this spark lights up, there is no telling what these students can make!”
The teacher helped students throughout the process. “Especially when they felt like giving up because the idea of creating outfits out of non-conventional materials was crazy to them; I was there to reassure them that it’s okay to make messes and to play around with materials.” 
Bate says the idea came to fruition through an incredible group effort – from fabric donations, sewing sessions, and every detail in between. “Luckily one of our board members, Judi Cline, and I started working nine months in advance. To take the design idea of a seven-year-old student created on a 12-inch Barbie doll and then
make a life-sized garment is no easy feat. And we made 11 of them!” 
A young student from the class didn’t know what to expect but knew she loved fashion. “I learned that fashion is everywhere and fun! Seeing my designs come to life was cool!”
According to Bate, the show was more than just the clothes. “The main point of the evening was to illustrate the design and creative process that these students are discovering. How a concept can become a reality. How, through creative thinking, experimentation, and hard work ideas can be developed into a visual language.”
Daniel Island resident Marilyn Geiger appreciates the opportunity it gave Lowcountry students who may not have access to programs without the organization’s support. “The clothes modeled at the Yo Art Gala reflect the creativity and innovative thinking of their young designers. The show is proof that great things happen when raw
talent is nurtured by programs like Yo Art…These students are our future.” 
Yo Art survives through its supporters. Find out how to help at

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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