Camden Creative Arts students win at state fashion design competition

Ador Tolbert, a junior at Camden’s Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy, spent the last month cutting, stitching, and sewing navy-blue and leopard-printed fabric in her fashion design class.

On Friday, she proudly modeled her final product — a navy knee-length skirt and a matching blazer with leopard lining — on the runway at the New Jersey Family, Career and Community Leaders of America annual conference at the Cherry Hill Crowne Plaza.

Her fashion creation is a reflection of her personality, Ador said.
“I’m plain on the outside, but bold on the inside,” the soft-spoken teenager said confidently.

Among hundreds of students from 40 competing schools statewide, Ador won first place in the sportswear category. The two-day event consisted of various vacational competitions (fashion, baking, cake decorating), workshops and motivational speakers. It ended Friday with the annual fashion show.

Her classmate, senior Dalia Perez, took first place in the “career jacket” category and second place in “recyclable garments“ for her creative “punches dress” — a rainbow-stripped sweater she made into a dress by cutting it in half and weaving empty Kool-Aid and Capri Sun juice pouches to make up the midsection part of the dress.

“I was screaming my head off” when each girl’s name was announced, said Santina Upshaw, Creative Arts’ fashion design teacher. “This is the first time we do this [competition].”

Dalia and Ador were chosen from Upshaw’s 12 students to represent their school. Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy was the only city school to participate in the FCCLA conference.

Dalia’s inspiration for her punches dress came from a Kool-Aid box that promoted recycling by asking fans to “do something ‘Kool’” with old juice packs, she said.

She jazzed up the outfit by adding rhinestones to the collar of the sweater.

Dalia will head to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia to study fashion merchandising in the fall.

Ador also wants to go into the fashion business. She is committed right now to designing her own prom dress.