http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=PT+Sans Clothing and Fashion program at Hinds CC Utica Campus trains for new careers
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Clothing and Fashion program at Hinds CC Utica Campus trains for new careers

Finding the latest fashions at the right price had to become a talent when Shricker Johnson’s children developed their own tastes in clothes.

“I have two daughters, and my youngest one is a diva with clothes and everything,” said the Crystal Springs native and first-year student in the Fashion Technology program at Hinds Community College’s Utica Campus.

Shricker Johnson aligns a piece of material on a sewing machine in the Fashion Technology program at Hinds Community College's Utica Campus. Johnson is a first-year student in the program. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

Shricker Johnson aligns a piece of material on a sewing machine in the Fashion Technology program at Hinds Community College’s Utica Campus. Johnson is a first-year student in the program. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

In the program, Johnson is blending her desire to continue her education with her creative eye in the hopes she can make a better living for her family.

“I was interested at first in cosmetology, then early childhood education,” she said. “Now, I want to do my own business, me and my girls.”

The Fashion program is one of 14 career-technical programs offered at the Utica Campus. With a one-year career certificate in hand upon completion of the program, students can take the skill to the workforce – fabric stores, alterations companies and manufacturing plants, to name a few.

“The program offers experienced faculty and small class sizes that prepare you for successful employment in clothing, textiles and fashion design fields,” said District Director of Enrollment Kathryn Cole. “This program includes instruction and training in construction, fabric design, pattern design, principles of construction, fitting and alterations, custom tailoring, home furnishings and textiles testing.”

Registration for spring 2016 at Hinds Community College is ongoing; classes begin on Jan. 11. For information about enrolling, go to the Hinds website at www.hindscc.edu. For information about the Fashion program, contact Dr. Curtis Gore, the program’s director on the Utica Campus, at 601.885.7116.

“The Hinds Utica Campus Career-Technical Division is proud of the growth we’ve seen in the past year,” said Kenisha Shelton, dean of career-tech programs at the Utica Campus. “Our instructors have been working extremely hard this past year to recruit and retain students and to obtain certification for themselves to stay relevant and connected with industry. The Career and Technical division at Hinds Community College – Utica Campus is definitely turning vision into reality.”

The expansive Fashion program prepares home tailors, crafters, novice sewers and every other kind of student in between with comprehensive coursework on the latest in sewing and embroidering technology. In short, it’s not your grandmother’s sewing machine anymore. Today’s machines are faster and more versatile, Gore said.

“Those machines are computerized, so they have different types of stitch settings,” said Gore, a 20-year clothing designer featured in more than 100 fashion shows in the South. “If you wanted to do some embroidering, say the cuff on your shirt, it has patterns ready once you log into the machine. You can also use a jump drive to download certain images and patterns you want to do.”

Dr. Curtis Gore, director of the Fashion Technology program at Hinds Community College's Utica Campus, points out the next step in making a dress for Shricker Johnson, a first-year student in the program. Johnson is making the dress for her daughter's prom. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

Dr. Curtis Gore, director of the Fashion Technology program at Hinds Community College’s Utica Campus, points out the next step in making a dress for Shricker Johnson, a first-year student in the program. Johnson is making the dress for her daughter’s prom. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

Students in the program begin with the basics and work up to mastering the modern-day machines used in large-scale manufacturing outfits.

“We start off with garment construction, where we help students use the equipment in the classroom, mainly the sewing machines,” Gore said. “In the tailoring class, students learn to tailor garments to the body, working with linings and things like that. Another is equipment usage, industrial and domestic, which is about how to safely use and maintain the latest sewing and embroidery machines, such as the ones made by Brother and Entrepreneur.

“We teach them to use industrial machines because they may end up having to use one, especially if they end up working in a factory,” Gore said.

For the entrepreneurs-in-waiting like Johnson, it’s a chance to show off some practicality. Her final exam in the class was a turquoise polyester show-stopper of a dress tailored for her older daughter’s senior prom.

“The class shows me how I could take it and transform a shirt I might see on sale somewhere for $40 or $50 into what I really want,” Johnson said. “You can get some fabric of your own and make a top-notch shirt – a shirt of your dreams that won’t look cheap and that nobody else has.”

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  • Danny Barrett

    Danny Barrett Jr. is a 17-year journalist with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communication from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La. Barrett covered county government and business at The Vicksburg Post for 10 years and came to Hinds Community College in 2015.

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