by Sofia Elizondo
Austin School of Fashion Design has been teaching aspiring creatives of all ages and backgrounds since 2007. Students not only learn the basics of aesthetics and design, but they also learn how to sew and bring their designs to life.
Owner and director Ilonka Soto-Pelyvas (Ilonka SP) is a native of Chile and says she was born an artist. When the opportunity to move to Austin presented itself in 2010, she found city offered more than she ever imagined; an artistic and fun environment.
She took over the Austin School of Fashion Design in 2016 and created a signature program called the ‘Academy for Young Designers,’ which has become the premier sewing and fashion summer camp in Texas. Ilonka says, “We’re creating the youngest fashion designers of Texas, and teaching college prep programs for all students looking for high fashion training.
LEARNING FOR ALL
The school is open to all ages, but, Ilonka says, training is very popular as an after-school program. Children as young as 7 years old, with no experience, sit beside students up to 18 years old and adult designers as well. She believes having designers of all ages and experience sharing the same space provides a healthy environment for creative thinking.
More experienced students are also invited to enroll in their advanced Academy.
“This is our super-star program,” she says. “It is a comprehensive program where kids design their own looks and bring them to reality thanks to our Swiss-engineered ‘Bernina’ sewing machines.”
All Academy students take part in a fashion challenge, including runway shows, to celebrate their accomplishments and give away prizes such as free Academy programs, free Summer Camp Weeks, and free packages of private classes.
Classes are held year-round, on Saturday mornings, in garment construction, pattern making, draping, illustration, college prep, and more. Adults are welcome to all classes and, as well, beginning January 2022, students can register for their popular and signature Sewing and Fashion Summer Camp. (SewingSummerCamp.com)
As a private school, they do have fees, but the school offers sibling discounts and all students have opportunities to work toward free classes and loyalty discounts. Click here to register.
Parents and students agree that Ilonka clearly cares about every student who walks through her door. She mentors each student to reach whatever goal he or she sets.