Readers are invited to enjoy this new monthly column by Laurie Caswell Burke, featuring high school students involved in arts, music, and drama.
“Great Gatsby Olivia” was the introduction for 17-year-old Champlain Valley Union (CVU) senior Olivia Hern at the 2013 South End Art Hop STRUT fashion show on Sept. 7. STRUT features clothing by a select group of local designers. Hern’s collection put a modern edge on 1920s fashion: a tea-length tulle skirt with a sweatshirt top; a lacey gown paired with a sheer skirt, black leggings, and Converse; and a floor-length dusty pink dress with sequined Art Deco straps, to name a few. Her collection was a bit of modern Gatsby.
Sewing since age 8, Hern not only had the skills to create her designs but make the clothing as well. She didn’t really like shopping but rather enjoyed dressing up and creating her own outfits. At age 13, Hern attended fashion design camp at Davis Studio, and her first dress design was accepted into the STRUT fashion show. She then set her sights on having her own collection on the runway. A combination of talent, curiosity, and stubbornness has brought her to participating for the third consecutive year.
Theater is also a big part of Hern’s life. She has been in several CVU plays, as well as “Rent” and “Into the Woods.” Hern has acted in Very Merry Theater productions since age 8. Her favorite role has been Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Her CVU grad challenge this past summer involved co-designing (with Kerry Farrell) and sewing all of the costumes for the Flynn Team Summer productions of “Into the Woods” and “Shrek.” Hern shares that it was a very rewarding experience and a lot of hard work.
She is currently exploring schools to pursue costume design, something that blends her love of theater and fashion. In her free time, she loves to paint, draw, and write poetry. Hern’s AP Art Class at CVU is challenging and time consuming but one she thoroughly enjoys.
Hern is a talented young lady who certainly has a promising career ahead of her, wherever she lands – the school will be lucky to have her.