Friday, February 19, 2010

Collegiate Designers putting PVAMU on the global fashion stage

There are many big names in fashion and design: Halston, Chanel, Laurent, Gucci, Kani, Karon, Kamora, Burrows and Dereon come to mind. But the emergence of Claratoli by Celestial Hall, a member of a new generation of collegiate designers, is putting Prairie View A&M University on the international fashion stage.

Hall, a junior Fashion Merchandising and Marketing student and one of the newest members of the fashion universe, is determined to change the fashion and design landscape at the university with the production of Texas Fashion Week, set for February 21-17, 2010.

Patterned after New York’s Fashion Week, the week-long event was created to change the mind sets, while educating and entertaining the audience at the same time. The events will showcase creations of collegiate and high school designers, models, and fashionistas alike, lectures and the history and business of fashions. Additionally, tributes will be paid to fashion icons Beth Hardison, Tyra Banks, Tina Knowles and PVAMU alumni, Katrice Offord, former Ebony Fashion Fair Model and others. Students will also be featured in an Entrepreneur Expo, where they can do business with the patrons. Show proceeds will be donated to the American Heart Association.

Celeste is the six of nine siblings; born to Mr. & Mrs. Irvin Hall of Missouri City, Texas, and not from a posh dilettante with a wealthy family to back her fashion whims. But the love, commitment and support from her parents and others is what propels her. She developed a passion for fashion while serving as an apprentice to her mom Dorothy, an accomplished seamstress and drape maker, who encouraged Celeste to follow her dreams.

Fashion is an ever-changing entity and Celeste is forging a path for other emerging designers and show organizers, urging them by example to remain true to their visions. Her impact was magnified in spring 2009 when she launched the first ever Fashion (Emphasis) Week at the university, a career goal she set two years ago. The program was subsequently recognized by the Office Student Activities and Leadership as the Program of the Year.

"I’ve seen fashion shows staged by students before, but there has not been anyone on Celeste’s level," said Frederick V. Roberts, Assistant Director of Career Services at Prairie View A&M, and Celeste’s Advisor/Mentor. "Her passion and vision are completely unique and a reason for her success in bringing together some 300 students to be a part of Texas Fashion Week.”

She has in no way fulfilled her career yet though because success means different things to different people. For some it’s the opportunity to do extraordinary work or to develop challenging new skill sets. For others it’s the ability to make a difference in people’s lives or to take on growing levels of responsibility and leadership. However the students define their professional goals, Career Service provides the opportunity to help them to achieve them. Because we care and we are passionate about the students.

"Celeste has done that. She's still very much a young designer, in terms of her creative approach but quiet demeanor," Roberts said. "She created Claratoli in High School, a potential international fashion brand, simple yet elegant collection, and a movement at the university, while staying true to what makes her who she is."

"She is a real inspiration to the fashion students at the university. There are a few students over the past year who hasn’t thanked Celeste for organizing this event.”

Celeste’s respect for the craft will influence the university to rethink the degree in Fashion and Merchandising because there is still a void to be filled. Fashion and challenge are so intrinsically associated with Celeste; one reason for the resurgence of interest in fashions at Prairie View A&M University. “I’ve not seen this interest in making a difference in a major study area at PVAMU in all of my 30+ years,” says Roberts.

In a few years, fashion houses worldwide will be knocking on her door to become a part of their world. In the meantime, Celeste is determined to make Texas Fashion Week a tremendous success at Prairie View A&M University. The public is encouraged to put this international fashion event on their calendars.

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Note: India Fashion Week highlights PVAMU Fashion Week

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