Fairfax Academy Fashion Careers Classes Partner with Miss Virginia USA

By Fairfax Academy
September 18, 2023

This story originally appeared on the Fairfax Academy website. 

a student shows Ms. Virginia her designsFairfax Academy’s Fashion Careers students hosted Miss Virginia USA Ashley Williams, in classes this week to present and pitch original design sketches for the state costume portion of the upcoming Miss USA competition.

Williams previously modeled for Fashion Careers teacher and designer Kendall Barry. She led model cat-walk seminars with Fashion Careers students in preparation for last year’s fashion show and returned to Fairfax Academy in June to support the department and its program successes at the annual Academy Awards.

The Miss USA state costume design should express the individuality of each delegate and represent what their state is known for. Collaborating with Barry, the two came up with the idea to have students engage in project-based learning (PBL) and compete in a design contest based on themes connected to Virginia. The inspiration and focus given to students centered around Virginia history and the “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan.

Projects incorporated inspiration from Aphrodite and Cupid, Loving v. Virginia, dogwood blossoms, cardinal feathers, and other symbols and historical references.

student designs for Miss virginiaWilliams shares, “I have loved fashion since I was a little girl, so it's no surprise to me or my loved ones that I chose to pursue a path that heavily involves fashion. When preparing for pageants, many delegates source wardrobe from well-known and established designers, domestic and international. I have seen the potential in these Academy students and was excited to give them the opportunity to have their designs showcased at this nationally televised event. This shows them that the sky is truly the limit!”

Williams was so impressed by the students and their designs, that she not only selected a design for the state costume competition, but also selected an additional design for the interview portion of the pageant. “This decision is exciting now that two of the student designers now get to be highlighted! I cannot wait to wear both pieces in just a few days and give them the recognition they deserve,” she stated.

“I truly wish I could have selected all 20 designs, because they were all incredible," she continued. "I am very grateful that everyone took the time to create such beautiful sketches with thoughtful concepts. I was blown away by how out-of-the-box they took the project, and even left the initial class visit having learned more about the history of Virginia!”

Catch these student designs on Miss USA when the 2023 pageant is nationally televised on Friday, September 29. Thank you and best of luck to Miss Virginia USA Ashley Williams!