Cape Town District textile student Luna Pavon won a gold medal in fashion design in a state competition, qualifying her for the national Family, Career and Community Leaders of America competition.
For the state event, held in February at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center, Luna designed a series of tuxedos in Egyptian, Japanese, Western and British styles, in what she called an outfit line. graceful feminine formals designed for high-end clients.
“They buy clothes for weight, self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment,” Luna said.
She adorned the collar, sleeves and cuffs with permanent fabric paint.
“Japanese is my favorite,” she said. “There are more details.”
A student at the Sussex Consortium at Cape High, Luna is in her third year of the textile program. She won silver in last year’s virtual contest for designing and creating a Japanese kimono.
What makes Luna’s accomplishments particularly enjoyable, said Alayna Aiken, a family and consumer science teacher at Cape High, is that Luna has autism.
“For some, autism may seem like a disability, but in a career like fashion studies that requires creative and original thinking, Luna was able to shine,” Aiken said. “It takes extra time and patience to redirect and refocus Luna, but it’s always worth it when she gets to that sweet spot to do what she has imagined in her mind.”
Luna faced additional challenges during the competition, Aiken said; she had to present her creations to the judges in a closed session.
“The FCCLA does not offer accommodations, does not allow a support person, and there are a lot of points awarded for oral presentation,” Aiken said. “The Consortium team had Luna repeatedly practice the flow of her presentation, which gave her the tools to pace herself and self-direct. Their hard work paid off as Luna is a gold medalist!
Everything Luna sews is her own creation. Luna said her favorite part of the design process is figuring out which of her ideas will be the best. She feeds her own measurements into a pattern software system to create and print designs that she traces onto the fabric and then sews.
To complement her tuxedo, Luna said she worked in class, after school, and during her resource and lunch periods.
“There were a lot of details,” she said. “I was at rush hour.”
Currently, designing and sewing clothes is a hobby for Luna, who is still two years away from graduating. Although she qualified for the national competition, Luna will not be present.
Luna is a meticulous seamstress, Aiken said. She only spent about a minute celebrating her win before turning to designing her prom dress.
“She had the fitted dress sampler sewn next class period and now she’s working on making a very bling-out turquoise dress,” Aiken said. “Luna’s willingness to learn and creative expression makes her teacher great fun.”
Cape Town students who have won silver medals at the FCCLA State Conference are Victoria Vincent, fashion builder; Mitchell Bunting, culinary arts; and Christopher Conners, culinary arts.