Cultivating Creativity in Colorado
Utilizing her vast background working in the fashion industry, educator and FIDM Fashion Club Advisor Arielle Bergmann brings real-world experiences to her students. Ms. Bergmann, who teaches fashion design and interior design at Overland High School in Aurora, Colorado, shares with us her recipe for success within the classroom.
“I love giving students opportunities to get messy. I like to push their creative boundaries and assign them projects where they have to create designs out of unorthodox materials like paper plates or plastic straws,” says Ms. Bergmann. She explains that oftentimes her students are stumped when given the assignment. “They really have to work together and figure out how they can manipulate the material to get the best design,” she explains.
Her FIDM Fashion Club also participates in the Denver Paper Fashion show each year. Students work for months creating an original design made of 90% paper. The design must be functional and the model must walk the runway in the outfit. Students get to see a large fashion show production from hair, makeup, photos, and production. “I love getting to experience that with them, and watch the creative juices flow,” Ms. Bergmann says. “They immediately compare their designs to others, they discuss ways to improve their designs and what they will do the next year.”
We asked Ms. Bergmann what advice she offers to those students truly interested in making fashion a career. “If students are interested in pursuing a design career, I encourage them to stick with me and take all the classes I offer. I also encourage them to join our FIDM Fashion Club and FCCLA. This gives students opportunities to see more of the fashion industry and garment construction.” She also does her best to connect her students with the local fashion scene so they can get shadowing experiences to see firsthand what the industry looks like. Additionally, Ms. Bergmann encourages them to sketch, create, and practice as much as possible so they can develop a portfolio.
Ms. Bergmann has utilized many FIDM educator resources over the years. “It is great to have a FIDM College Representative come in and talk about the school but they also do the workshops and help the students see a different aspect of the industry that I can’t show them,” she states. Her goal as an educator is to provide students with real life skills that are applicable in the real world, regardless of the path they choose after high school.
Ms. Bergmann graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2004 and went on to design and construct clothing for a top secret government project in Washington, D.C. She eventually moved to Alabama where she started her own clothing line, Elleira Couture. Around this time, Ms. Bergmann began her teaching career. She now calls Colorado home.
In her spare time, Ms. Bergmann enjoys creating fun costumes and sewing items for herself. “I’m also pretty obsessed with my two Boston terriers, Lucy and Fergus,” she says. She also loves spending time in the great outdoors, be it camping, hiking, or snowboarding.