The Shoe Fashion Show (Covid-19 Edition)

Vivian Mutty

Shoes have been a defining aspect of American culture and their origins can be traced back to 7000 BC. The evolution of shoes is apparent throughout the decades. From the classic Mary Janes of the 1960s to the famous Nike Air Jordans produced by basketball-star Michael Jordan, shoes have played an important role in protecting our feet from the rough ground. After the establishment of a basic shoe that would protect one’s foot, companies emerged to bring more creativity into the industry. Designers like Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, and Alexander Wang began to design innovative shoes that would be sure to stand out. The famous “red-bottom” high heels, starting originally at the “low” price of $100, have become a statement of high social standing and wealth with the most expensive heel selling for over $6000.

Orchard Park High School offers a class titled “Elements of Fashion” in which students express their creativity through designing and creating clothing. Recently, the classes presented their final project, a fashion show dedicated to showing off the students’ shoe designs /creations. This class offers a creative outlet and a chance to develop valuable skills for students who enjoy hands-on activities and a free-range style classroom. Each student who walked the runway in the OPHS fashion show has potential to be the next shoe entrepreneur. 

The show was held in the gymnasium for cohort A on June 7th and for cohort B students on June 8th. The show was run entirely by the students who each had individual jobs to complete such as designing programs and planning music. Cohort A students strutted down the runway while songs like “Peaches” by Justin Bieber and “Levitating” by Dua Lipa ft. Dababy entertained the background. The upbeat music played a significant role in engaging the limited, but supportive, audience. Models dressed in all-black attire to draw focus to their shoes. This is an element known as “contrast” that students learn  in Elements of Fashion. Students could model their own shoes or ask a teacher to strut down the runway wearing the designed shoes. Mr. Agnew repped Orchard Park pride shoes to honor his time spent teaching in the business electives offered at OPHS. Including teachers in the show provided a way to inform others about the show and intertwine the arts with other specialties in the school. And after watching Mr. Agnew’s model walk on Tuesday, he’d be a “shoe-in” at FIT.

Many shoes were designed to honor family members, like the pair of sneakers dedicated to a student’s grandmother who loved listening to The Beatles. Others were inspired by popular television shows like Stranger Things; and even our home football team, the Buffalo Bills. Floral themes as well as abstract splatter paint were incorporated into the design process and allowed for individuality. Each shoe was a representation of the designer behind it which made the shoes even more meaningful. 

The wide variety of themed shoes was evident in the unique class of students Mrs. Perla taught Mrs. Perla, the genius behind this idea, is truly dedicated to her work as an art teacher and a role model. Her work ethic is unmatched and she empowers her students to take initiative in planning events and completing projects. When students decided to take on the challenge of planning the show to meet COVID-19 guidelines, Mrs. Perla never doubted the students’ abilities to pull it off. Considering the change of venue and limited audience, the show was quite a “feet” to pull off! Fashion students would also like to offer a huge thank you to the janitorial staff who assisted in building the runway, the gym staff who allowed us to use the speakers, and the technology department for providing a projector. This show would not have been possible without all of the help from the school staff. The shoe fashion show of 2021 was a bit different than years before, but it still upheld the OPHS tradition to show off the hard work students put into their projects.