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Gibbs High theater students create professional costumes for school plays

Gibbs High
Posted at 8:35 PM, Sep 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 13:02:07-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Gibbs High theater students create professional costumes for all school plays

It’s a fashion design studio fit for the pros, but it belongs to Mrs. Kelley and her costume design

“Going over the sequence was definitely a challenge,” Kendall Swartz.

Swartz joined the program, she didn’t know the first thing about sewing.

“My goal was to get on the stage and perform then I came into the tech department, and I saw how many opportunities they gave to students, and I fell in love with costuming,” Swartz said.

Now as a senior, she’s the costume designer and oversees all the designs for the upcoming production of “She Loves Me.” Last year Swartz spent three months making a leather coat for Shakespeare.

“I remember watching and just being in shock that this is something that I have on stage. It was amazing, it was the first piece that I got to have on stage,” said Swartz.

Typically, high school students rent their costumes but every piece of clothing at Gibbs High is designed and constructed by students.

Trish Kelley has been teaching the college-level costume design class for more than two decades.

“One of our grads was up for a Tony for his role in 'Ain’t Too Proud,'” and the gentleman that wore this suit when he was here was in the production of The Cher Show, so he was dancing on stage for that production. To see two of your people on the Tony’s is incredible,” Kelly said.

International fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff is also a notable graduate of the program. Junior Connor Totten aspires to follow in her footsteps.

“After I was finished working on that piece, I was like sort of standing there in awe look at what I've just done. I was like wow I created such a beautiful gown,” Totten said.