April 12, 2014

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The annual spring Fashion Show at EVIT is a highlight of the Fashion, Interiors and Design program.

Media contact: CeCe Todd, (480) 461-4032

From an eyewear and sports apparel company in Europe to the Dallas corporate office for Fossil accessories, Candice Barringer’s fashion design education at the East Valley Institute of Technology led to a whirlwind of exciting career opportunities.

“Without my participation in the EVIT fashion program, I don't know if I would have had all of the opportunities that I’ve had so far at such a young age in my career,” said Barringer, who completed EVIT’s Fashion Merchandising and Design program in 2009, interned at Phoenix Art Museum, and worked for Oakley Inc. in Switzerland before moving to Texas, where she manages accounts for Fossil. “Having thrived in the EVIT program has set me apart from people aspiring to have careers in the fashion industry.”

Since Barringer attended EVIT, the fashion and interior design programs merged to form Fashion, Interiors and Textiles, a dynamic program that teaches students the elements and principles of design, fabrics and textiles, use of color and texture, retail theory, visual merchandising, sewing and pattern making.

Fashion, Interiors and Textiles –  or FIT, as the students and teachers call it – is one of more than 30 occupational training programs at EVIT currently enrolling for the 2014-15 school year. EVIT programs are tuition-free for high school students, including charter and home-schooled students, who reside in 10 East Valley school districts – Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Higley, Fountain Hills, Apache Junction, Queen Creek and J.O. Combs. Tuition-based programs for adults are also offered, with financial aid available.

Instructors Kim Foulger and Kristen Johnson say FIT would appeal to any student who is creative, thinks outside-the-box, and has an entrepreneurial spirit. Johnson pointed out that while many high schools offer design programs, they are not two-hour blocks of instruction each day with the depth that EVIT provides.

“We always get some students who will say, ‘I’ve already done that,’ but then when you say, ‘show me,’ they’ve never used the correct tools,” Foulger said.

Students who love art may want to go into interior design, but will discover that to get into the best design schools they have to show a portfolio first. At EVIT, design students not only finish with a portfolio of quality work, but also a resume and, if they choose, nine college credits through dual enrollment at Mesa Community College. Many EVIT design students have gone on to such renowned schools as the Pratt Institute and LIM College in New York, FIDM Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in California, and more.

“We have former students in college who say they’re so glad they went to EVIT because they are so far ahead of everyone else,” Foulger said.

EVIT’s design students transform their skills into garments, elaborate sets and window displays, while also raising money for an annual field trip to New York City. At the annual Fashion Show, their clothing collections are judged by fashion experts. This year’s Fashion Show will be 6 p.m., April 17 at the EVIT Culinary Arts banquet hall, 1601 W. Main St., Mesa. To order tickets, call (480) 461-4141.

The FIT students are also currently designing EVIT’s new restaurant, Bistro 13, which is scheduled to open in August. FIT is one of several EVIT programs involved in renovating the restaurant, one of the “real life” projects that sets the design program apart from those offered at other schools.

It’s also an example of the teamwork stressed in the program, a “soft skill” prized by employers – and an environment in which young designers thrive.

“We become a family,” Johnson said. “We know the students really well. All EVIT programs are like that … When one student goes down, they all go down. They’re a team. They’re very committed. They grow together.”

To register for the 2014-15 school year, visit www.evit.com and see your high school counselor. For more information, contact enrollment director Melissa Valenzuela at (480) 461-4153 or mvalenzuela@evit.com. 

It is the policy of the East Valley Institute of Technology District #401 to provide all persons with equal employment and education opportunities regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, marital status, age or disability. District grievance procedures will be followed for compliance with Title IX and Section 504 requirements. The compliance officer is the EVIT Superintendent.

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