Fashion, boats and battles: Morristown High art show keeps it lively

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You’re visiting a remote island. Your leg gets slashed by a wild boar. Who do you want sewing up your bloody gam–a doctor or a seamstress?

For Morristown High School senior Shannon Kikuchi, it’s a no-brainer.

Go with the seamstress.

Shannon Kikuchi, fashionista-in-chief of the Morristown High School Fashion Club, kicked off the fifth annual MHS Art Show with a runway exhibition of original designs. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Shannon Kikuchi, fashionista-in-chief of the Morristown High School Fashion Club, kicked off the fifth annual MHS Art Show with a runway exhibition of original designs. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“I’ve been sewing since I was 6 years old,” said Shannon, founder of the MHS Fashion Club and organizer of Tuesday’s second annual school Fashion Show.

The runway exhibition, featuring clothes designed by Shannon and members of her club and modeled by fellow students, helped kick off the fifth annual MHS Art Show.

About 1,500 student paintings, photos and sculptures fill the auxiliary gym, where an “art battle” of speed murals is scheduled for 7 o’clock tonight, May 22, with artist Brad Smith of Arts By the People refereeing.  That’s after some cardboard boat designs are put to the test in the MHS pool, at 6 pm.

The Art Show culminates at 7 pm on May 23 with a festival of student videos, curated by broadcasting teacher Mike Butler.

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“Could you imagine not seeing all this?” said photography teacher Brian Kievning, who hatched the Art Show five years ago.  Months of planning are involved each year; it takes about two days to mount everything, according to visual arts teacher Rachel Compton.

The Morris Educational Foundation, which runs the annual Morristown’s Got Talent fund-raising contest, supports the Art Show with grants for everything from portable exhibit walls to GoPro video cameras, Brian said.

Shannon Kikuchi’s fans include Jordan Pohle, a junior in the Fashion Club who designed and modeled a smart-looking red party dress. The material cost $50, about twice what she might pay for an off-the-shelf dress. But it’s worth it, Jordan said.

“I like creating something I can actually wear. And no one has it,” she said.

Meahgan Gibson, also a junior, sported a cute casual outfit designed by sophomore Nevi Shah. Customized clothes are the way to go, said Meaghan, whose petite size makes shopping a challenge. “This makes everything fit better,” she said.

FASHIONISTA-IN-CHIEF

Shannon’s talents are not limited to haute couture.  She serves as creative director for the school literary magazine, Tricorn. Last year, she co-produced a well received video tribute to Steve Wiley, founder of the Morris Educational Foundation.

“She’s a real take-charge person. Real impressive,” said art teacher Joanne Olivier.

Shannon also has appeared in videos with Arts By the People, and on stage in MHS drama productions. But she prefers to work her magic behind-the-scenes.

As assistant director of this spring’s musical, Smile, she also oversaw costume- and art design, and the lobby decorations.

“The process is the most fascinating part” of fashion design, Shannon said. “In the creative zone, that’s the most satisfying, when you really see your vision coming together.”

The clothes really do make the man–or the woman, she believes.

“Clothing is the impression that other people get from us. It’s everybody else’s impression of you, who you are, represented to the world.”

What becomes of the Fashion Club after its Fashionista-In-Chief heads to the Parsons School of Design this fall remains to be seen.

Shannon Kikuchi is a tough act to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

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