PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Dobbins High School has one of the only fashion technical training courses in Philadelphia Schools, but students in the program have to pay for their own supplies, so they’re using their skills to raise some cash.
“I always wanted to do fashion since I was like 6,” says 17-year-old Zimir Wilkinson.
He is a senior at Murrel Dobbins High School at 22nd and Lehigh Avenue. He’s studied fashion technology in the CTE program which has given him opportunities to pursue his passion.
“We did Philly fashion week, we did a pop up show at the mall, we also did a community show,” he says. “I get really excited to come here and learn.”
But Zamir and the other students must pay for their supplies. The school only provides the bare minimum.
“You need to touch the fabric to know how it will move and stretch,” says Dr. Toni Damon, principal at Dobbins High School.
She says students have to go into their own pockets to buy their tools and to get the fabrics, needles, and thread needed to create pieces for their class.
So the students are putting together a fashion show to help foot the bill.
“No other school has this program,” says Debrah Sterling, who is president of the board for the program. A former fashion instructor, she owns J-Bri Designs and says Dobbins’ CTE program represents a vital opportunity for dozens of students.
“A lot of students that I have taught do not go to college, they are hands on,” says Sterling. “With these skills, they can get a job or become an entrepreneur.”
On Sunday, Sterling organized the “I’m Every Woman Community Fashion Luncheon,” which will showcase the creative fashions of students from the Dobbins fashion program. The money raised will help the students purchase the materials they need for their work.
“I think that’s very unique,” says Zamir, who created nearly a dozen denim that will be featured on the runway this weekend. Students will model the pieces.
“It’s going to be for the whole community, everybody can come,” says Zamir.
Other projects that the class is working on include a condom fashion project for AIDS Education Month to honor famed designer Patrick Kelley.
“We do a lot community service, kids make all the pieces,” says Nadine Artis-Small, the fashion director at Dobbins. “I love my job, and coming to school seeing these kids succeed is a pleasure.”
More information can be found at the J-Bri Designs website.