To have designs shown at Omaha Fashion Week, you'd probably think you'd have to have years of experience in the biz; been a celebrated designer, made dozens of collections.
Margaret Larson hasn't even graduated from high school. Larsen will showcase her collection Friday night at Omaha Fashion Week. She credits some of her success to what she's learned in her advanced fashion design class.
"I could sew before, but there's a lot of things I didn't know. I couldn't use a pattern. I couldn't hem. I didn't know what like a really nice machine was," she said.
Mary Jo Losen teaches the fashion curriculum at Westside High School.
"Students are scheduled one day a week where they are according to their level," Losen explains. So I have the intro students group together. I have the fashion one in a group together. I have fashion two grouped. I have the advanced level together. The rest of the week they are phased into lab, so I will have a few of all those levels at one time."
Personalized attention and teaching has really paid off. Each semester about one hundred students are enrolled in the program. To date, five Westside High school students have shown work during Omaha Fashion Week.
"I am honored to be able to work with really creative and passionate students who want to, you know, take it to the outer limits," Losen said.
The lessons go beyond designing and crafting though. They also take a focus at student's goals post graduation.
"We do cover careers on every level to some degree. Then fashion merchandising is an online elective class that really goes into the business of marketing and retail and how the fashion works in the real world," Losen said.
As for Larsen, she's ready for the Friday night show, and is looking toward SCAD for art school to continue her path towards making a living as a fashion designer.
"This is a career that I can actually can do something in and it's not just a dream," she said.