Last weekend, I was thrilled to be one of three judges at a fashion contest at Boca Raton’s THOS Fashion School of Design (THOS). Photo “Project Runway” at Mizner Park! The competition was fierce with talented students under the guidance and tutoring of Letty Sanchez, founder of THOS.
The challenge entrusted to these aspiring designers was to design a garment inspired by the idea that “If Cruella attended the Met Gala, what would she wear?” To take it one step further, the students had to use three unconventional fabric textures that have a yin and yang relationship, but look attractive together. No simple projects to say the least.
Most notable is that a large number of students had never sewed before enrolling in THOS, but after only a few months of classes under Sanchez’s guidance, they showed off intricate garments that would have made Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum proud. These students have pushed themselves, building garments with corsets, prominent shoulder pads, bulky tulle, layered paper, trash bags, and even fiber optics.
For Sanchez, his greatest achievement in the show is “proof that these new students have experienced what it’s like to see their vision turn into fruition by executing their original project. It was a realistic opportunity to discover that anything is possible ”. And making sure his students are equipped with the tools they need to succeed in the highly competitive world of fashion is why Sanchez founded THOS in the first place.
As the stylist for his own label, The House of Sanchez, Sanchez was used to selling to retailers like Nordstrom. But after having another child and wanting to be a stay-at-home mom, she realized that her talent and practical knowledge were needed to help those students who dream of learning design but are unable to pay for the typical high tuition, nor spend 4 years in a program.
“I created a program that would bridge the gap and give students a solid foundation in learning the fundamentals, but above all a kind of mindset that builds character, determination and confidence in their future in fashion,” says Sanchez. Well, mission accomplished! After each look hit the runway, the competing stylists answered the judges’ questions with confidence and conviction.
The dedication of these budding designers to mastering the art and business of fashion design was contagious. Selecting a winner from three categories was no easy feat, but Yvari Toussaint emerged victorious, winning both “Best Design” and “People’s Choice” awards. For Toussaint, “Winning these awards shows me that you have to believe in yourself to make things happen, and now I want to achieve more than I wanted to achieve before the competition. It’s time to pursue my biggest dreams and aspirations ”. Cheers to this one! With a new year upon us, let us feed on the optimism and hope of Toussaint and his peers by toasting big dreams and chasing them.
For more from Boca fashion and style contributor Olivia Hollaus, click here.