Sunday, April 15, 2012 | 2 a.m.
Dolled up in a short pink floral dress, Erica Magallon made walking a runway look easy Saturday afternoon at the Fashion Show mall when she showed off her prom dress for the first time.
“It’s like I’ve been doing it forever,” said Magallon, the 18-year-old Desert Pines High School senior’s first time on the catwalk.
Joining Magallon were nine other high school girls who walked the runway in jewel-toned evening gowns as part of the Pretty for Prom program. The girls were chosen for the program because they have either faced a hardship, achieved academic success or whose family is financially unable to buy a prom dress.
“I was going to try to find (a dress) and if I didn’t I wasn’t going to go to prom,” she said.
Clark County School District administrators and teachers handpicked eligible girls for the program.
A girl from last year had lost her home to Hurricane Katrina and her family was relocated to Las Vegas. Two years ago a girl had been living at a friend's house while trying to stay in school after both of her parents were incarcerated.
Each year 10 girls have a chance to meet a local design student who would construct a custom dress for the big dance.
It’s the third year CCSD has partnered with the International Academy of Design & Technology, a Henderson design college. Other sponsors include the Euphoria Institute, which donated the girls’ hair and makeup services, and Fashion Show mall, which gave the high schoolers $100 gift cards to buy shoes and accessories.
IADT instructor Dennis Wright says his students volunteer about six to eight weeks of their time for the real-world experience that looks good in their portfolios.
“It gives our students an opportunity to work with an actual client,” Wright said. “Fitting a person is different that fitting a mannequin.”
The design students donate hundreds of hours spent sketching designs, making patterns, and sewing fabric donated by local philanthropists Siegfried & Roy.
IADT student Trishawna Alexander, 30, spent time between classes and after school to work on a rhinestone-studded strapless red dress for her high school student.
“I can’t express how much I learned in the process,” Alexander said. “The experience — I wouldn’t give it up for anything.”
Designers escorted their high school students down the runway at the end of the show.
Magallon’s fashion designer Eduardo Jimenez wore a pink tie to match his high school model’s flirty prom dress.
“It’s going to look gorgeous that way,” he said. “Any girl should feel beautiful.”
A pleased Magallon said, “He actually got it exactly how I wanted it.”
Along with the 10 prom dresses, other spring fashion pieces designed by IADT students were shown Saturday on the runway.
Several of the prom dresses and more pieces from the IADT college will be presented at a runway show called Imagine at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at Green Valley Ranch Resort. Tickets are $10 presale and $12 at the door. Proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities and the IADT scholarship fund.