Fashion designer for royal families lends experience to budding high school students

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ST. LOUIS – Jo Flannery has put together queens, princesses, and prime ministers in her fashion career. On Wednesday afternoon in downtown St. Louis, she was providing teens the tools to do the same.

“British royal family, European royal family, and Queen of Norway,” says Jo Flannery, Fashion Designer & Instructor.  “I’ve also had lots of members from the Arabic royal families and Lady (Margaret) Thatcher.  I’ve got to do a lot of outfits for Lady Thatcher.  So, I’ve met a lot of the weight and the good.”

A collaboration between COCA and the St. Louis Fashion Incubator has resulted in this summer teen fashion intensive camp.

“We are doing a fashion intensive camp,” says Kathleen Bibbins, Executive Director of the St. Louis Fashion Incubator. “This is our second week. It starts on Monday and ends on Friday.  It’s in collaboration with COCA and we are taking 16 to 18-year-olds and basically helping them learn how to build a garment.”

Area high school students considering a college with a fashion program are getting hands-on experience with experts and St. Louis fashion incubator designers.

“I’m making a linen flowery shirt,” says Kelsey Gibson, a future designer.  “It’s like a way to express yourself.  That’s the first thing you see when you see somebody is their clothes which is kind of the personality of what they’re wearing.”

“Even if you’re not intending to be a designer, I think learning how to sew is such an amazing skill,” says Flannery. “To be able to create your own clothes is so empowering. So I love passing on my skills to young people.”

From creating, cutting sewing and presenting their final projects these future designers are getting a jump on their career dreams, and their future competition.

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