Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 29th
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Designers, Make It Work

dress1Local artist/teacher hopes to expand annual teen fashion show with fundraising campaign


Kathleen Crocetti, a local artist and teacher at Mission Hill Middle School in Santa Cruz, seeks support to expand fashionTEENS Santa Cruz, an annual fashion show featuring the recycled designs of and modeled by middle and high school students in Santa Cruz County. Since its inception three years ago, the show has entertained sold-out crowds with one-of-a-kind outfits created with reconstructed clothes found in area thrift shops. The show has gotten so popular over the years that it now requires a much larger space than Mission Hill to accommodate the sell-out crowd. Crocetti has her eyes on the Civic Auditorium for this year’s event, scheduled to take place on April 17, and hopes that a Kickstarter campaign will help make that dream a reality.

Good Times: What inspired you to put on the fashionTEENS Santa Cruz show?

Kathleen Crocetti: I teach at Mission Hill Middle School, and for the past three years I have been in partnership with Goodwill. I take 112 students to the downtown store where they allow each student to take one item of clothing or an accessory for free. We go back to school, and with the help of an army of volunteers, we redesign the clothing by deconstructing and remaking them. We have outgrown the space at our school with standing-room-only shows.

How many teens will be participating in this year’s show (including designers, models, etc.)?

We expect to be able to accept 120 outfits to walk the runway. This, however, only represents the models. Many of the student designers will walk the runway in their own outfits, but others will have friends model for them.

Is this fashion show at all related to fashionART Santa Cruz?

Yes, Angelo Grova, the producer of fashionART, is on the fashionTEENS organization team, as are several other people connected with fashionART. I am so grateful to Lisa Litten and Tina Brown who are doing the heavy lifting in regards to planning and eventually running the show.

What is your background with fashion art?dress2

I was one of the designers for the Seventh Sense Fashion Show for nine years. In the first or second year of fashionART, [I was] asked to participate. I’ve been in the show four times. Generally my work involves “upcycling” multiples of odd found materials.

Why do you believe so many young people are interested in the fashion art world?

Fashion has always been a way to creatively express yourself [in order to] to give clues to the general public about your personality.

How is fashion art a good creative outlet for young adults?

It is an especially good outlet for people who might feel introverted or socially awkward, but who would like to be noticed and acknowledged for their creativity. Also, it does not have to be expensive, and you learn a lot of skills from making clothing.

What can people do if they want to get involved?

We need mentors—people who like to sew, and are willing to help a teen realize their designs. We also need hairdressers and make-up artists. We’d love to get two or three more food vendors to provide snacks at the after party we are having at the MAH. We have a Kickstarter campaign for the financial supporters.

What will the funds go toward?

Renting the Civic is seriously expensive, so hopefully we will break even. If we have any profits they will go to the art program at Mission Hill Middle School and to student scholarships.

fashionTEENS takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 17 at the Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $7.50-18.50. For tickets, visit For more information about fashionTEENS or to volunteer, visit or

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