From High School to High Fashion


When StyleWeek Northeast returns to the Convention Center from February 21 to 24, there will be runway shows from designers from all over the country and from Europe. There will also be the youngest designers in the history of StyleWeek: three creative students from Lincoln School.

Twelfth grader Willa Summers, eleventh grader Maeve McEnroe, and ninth grader Brigitte Lynch-Johnson will all be participating in the SEED Student Design Challenge on opening night of StyleWeek, February 21. Traditionally, the annual student design competition has only been open to college students, who come from as far away as Boston and New York. This year, though, StyleWeek founder Rosanna Ortiz and board member Ting Barnard collaborated with the East Side all-girls school, which offers a studio art major as part of its expanded STEAM curriculum.

“We’re very excited to participate in this new initiative,” says Anita Thompson, Visual Art Department head at Lincoln. “The students are thrilled to be challenged in this way.” For the SEED Challenge, students are tasked with creating garments made from found objects. They’re judged not just for their design aesthetic, but for their creative use of recycled materials as well. Maeve McEnroe’s dress is made from woven newspapers, Willa Summers’ design uses bottle caps, and Brigitte Lynch-Johnson’s incorporates microchips, motherboards, and LED lights. “The idea of repurposing material and envisioning different uses for found objects was a great way to creatively and constructively combine artistic vision and critical thinking,” Thompson says. “Designing wearable art is a first for these girls, and they can’t wait to showcase their work.”

The public can see their work at the runway show on February 21, but the experience has been months in the making for these students. “Ting and Rosanna from StyleWeek have come in for one-on-one critiques, to see progress and offer feedback to elevate their designs,” says Lincoln School’s director of marketing and communications Ashley Rappa. “It’s been invaluable to get their opinions, and the girls have put the constructive criticism to good use, really amping up their designs after their meetings.” The garments will also be the first exhibition in Lincoln School’s new art gallery, part of their STEAM hub expansion, on display through the spring.


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