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The weather report confirms the obvious: Spring has finally sprung in Western New York. The new season may appear serene after a tumultuous winter, but for local students, now is hardly the time to get lackadaisical. As some high schoolers prepare for spring AP testing, a select few Erie 1 BOCES students have been busy readying themselves for a less conventional display of talent and capability: the fourth annual FUSION Fashion Show.

The fashion design and merchandising program is among more than 25 other career and technical programs offered at Erie 1 BOCES, including culinary arts and Web technologies. Students enrolled in the fashion design and merchandising program at Erie 1 BOCES utilize the show as a means of showcasing their knowledge of the trade to not only their instructors, but also to the general public. Departments overlap in the production of the show, giving students in programs such as cosmetology and digital media a chance to display their talents as well.

Creativity is not only encouraged but required in a world of fads and trends. Every article of clothing seen on the runway is an original piece crafted by a BOCES student.

“From concept drawings to stitching the hems,” stated a recent press release, “the students have poured countless hours into the outfits that will be worn on the runway.”

Clarence High School senior Emily Mitchell is among the featured designers in this year’s show.

Emily draws her inspiration from the familiar face of the Grateful Dead’s logo, the dancing bear.

“After seeing harem pants during our fashion history unit,” Emily said, “I decided to make something similar of my own. Each set of pants has a controlled fullness with a unique design.”

The remainder of her collection is characterized by a variety of fringe and raw edges.

For those who aren’t well-versed in fashion history, or any fashion at all for that matter, you’re in luck: The show is open to all who can appreciate the students’ dedication to their art. The free event will be held tonight at the Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga. The first show will begin at 6 p.m. with a repeat show at 7. In addition to a raffle, Erie 1 BOCES will also be holding a career expo from 6 to 8 p.m. Information about all Erie 1 BOCES programs will be available. The event will be located on the first floor of the mall near the Apple Store.

Danielle Grimm is a senior at Clarence High School.