When I grow up…

Blasingame+said+she+used+recycled+materials+to+create+a+piece+that+she+was+really+proud+of.

Elizabeth Riti

Blasingame said she used recycled materials to create a piece that she was really proud of.

From a young age, Charlie Blasingame, senior, said she felt pressure to answer the question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Blasingame said because she didnt feel passionate about sports or any of her classes, she found herself speechless when quizzed about her future.

“I feel like so many people tell cool stories about finding their passion when they were a little kid,” Blasingame said. “I didn’t even know what I was interested in until a couple years ago when I took my first [KHS] class about the basics of fashion design.” 

During her sophomore year, Blasingame enrolled in Fashion Construction I. Blasingame said her experience in this class was unlike any previous course she had taken. 

 Blasingame said. “It was so much fun, and I really liked having freedom to sew and create my own visions.”

This fashion construction course falls under KHS’ Family and Consumer Science (FACS) program. This program provides students with classes such as child development, culinary instruction and fashion/interior design. Julie Johnson, FACS teacher, has taught design classes at KHS for 32 years. 

“I fell in love with [fashion design] immediately.””

— Charlie Blasingame

“[FACS courses] can help students find a passion, possible career or hobby,” Johnson said. “Students [learn] skills that will stay with them forever, whether they use what they learn as a career pathway or not.”

Johnson taught Blasingame’s first Fashion Construction I course and has served as an instructor and advisor to Blasingame for the following three years. Johnson said Blasingame’s innovation and drive stood out from the beginning.

“[Blasingame] is innately very creative and artistic,” Johnson said. “It has been incredible watching her grow, from learning how to sew, to creating some of the most incredible design projects I’ve ever seen.”

Prior to these classes, Blasingame had no exposure to designing or sewing garments. She said this lack of experience in her childhood is what pushes her to be super involved in fashion now. Blasingame is currently an apprentice for the St. Louis Fashion Alliance (STLFA), an organization that creates business opportunities and connections within the community so it is more accessible to local designers and businesses.  

“[FACS courses] can help students find a passion, possible career or hobby.””

— Julie Johnson

“St. Louis actually has a pretty big underground fashion scene,” Blasingame said. “Finding people with like interests to you can be really hard, and it sucks. STLFA makes finding these [important connections] easier for new designers.”

Aside from enrolling in FACS courses at KHS, Blasingame was accepted into the Four Plus Program, a fashion design program at Washington University in St. Louis. Blasingame said she essentially lived as a student for three weeks, attending a variety of design classes for hours each day. Over the course of the three week camp, Blasingame said she created a piece that she was really proud of. This garment also caught the attention of a greater audience. 

“I used recycled materials to create this deconstructed looking dress which I really liked,” Blasingame said. “My professor’s friend, [Dominic Micheal], also really liked [it], and wanted to pay me to do a photoshoot with [it]. [Micheal] owns a bunch of salons in St. Louis, and had the idea of doing hair and makeup that matched my dress.”

“I really liked having freedom to sew and create my own visions.””

— Charlie Blasingame

If you asked her in middle school what she wanted to be when she grew up, Blasingame said she wouldn’t have been able to supply an answer. Four years later, as a senior in high school, she is able to respond to the question.

“I’m working hard toward becoming a fashion designer,” Blasingame said. “I’m hoping to go to school in New York, actually. Pratt, Parsons, and FIT are my top three schools, and I’ve spent a lot of time the past few months working and curating my portfolio submissions.”