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Teens build skills one stitch at a time

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

When a handful of Wayne School teens gets to experience the stylish side of “Mercyhurst” at the end of the month, they may just walk away with more than a new skill under their belts.

Beginning Jan. 28, Mercyhurst fashion instructor Abbey Mollo will teach Fashion Design and Merchandising to a group of 10 students in grades 6-8 Wednesdays after school for eight weeks. Besides coming away with practical skills like sewing, she hopes that they will feel empowered and proud of the features God gave them.

Mollo is teaching at the invitation of the Erie City Mission’s Urban University, an after-school program at Wayne School, 650 East Ave. Urban University is described as a Christian program that “braids engaging experiences with practical faith development.”

Mollo called the opportunity a “God wink” since it fulfills her passion for community service and fashion education while incorporating elements of her Catholic faith.

“It’s important for young girls to know that we are all different and those differences don’t make you better or worse than someone else,” said Mollo. “I hope that they can look at their bodies and their complexions with an analytical eye, not a critical one. I want them to see themselves as beautiful the way they are.”

The course will explore several aspects of fashion merchandising, including sewing, color analysis, wardrobe selection and body typing (dressing for your shape and skin tone). Students will each sew an infinity scarf, as well as venture on a field trip to Thrifty Shopper, where they will style mannequins for display.

“I’m a firm believer that you can look good at any price point and on any budget,” said Mollo. “It’s all about the fit and the color. When you pick out an outfit that complements your features, you feel confident.”