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Nurturing Young Designers, One Stitch at a Time

“Everyone is affected by fashion.”  That is the view of Irina Simeonova, who believes that in every interaction, fashion matters: it influences the first impression that a person gives before he or she even speaks. Simeonova has devoted her life to fashion. Beginning in Bulgaria at the age of 11, she created and sewed her own patterns. She quickly moved on to become Head Designer for Rila Style, a Bulgarian fashion house, at the age of 21. Her teaching experience as an assistant professor at the New School Parsons School for Design later fostered her passion for teaching.

At New England Fashion and Design Association, Simeonova makes dreams come to life for children of all ages in her two studios: one in Norwalk, CT and the other in ArtsWestchester’s building in White Plains, NY. At 3:30pm, little girls and boys pour into her studio to learn how to sew and create wearable art. As soon as they enter, they are greeted by Simeonova, who tells them: “You are in a dream lab now, so you can do anything.”

These kids quickly grow to be teens who have a passion for fashion design. “It drives them to create,” says Simeonova. Through New England Fashion and Design Association, and the masterful team that Simeonova has put together, students take classes in pattern making, fashion illustration, clothing construction and more. Simeonova says of her Junior Fashion Design Academy students: “These élite students are trained to see and think like designers in New York City. They create fashion as art.”

For more information about Irina Simeonova’s New England Fashion + Design Association: sonofashiondesign.com.

Anya Ifshin, Program Assistant, Arts in Education, began her career at ArtsWestchester in Spring 2016. In the Arts in Education department, she processes payments for artists, maintains databases, updates contact lists, assists with grants, and other administrative tasks. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Muhlenberg College.

Photo credit: Kyle Michael King / For Hearst Connecticut Media