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Couture for a Cause: The student behind the gown, Sharon Clemons

523802_10150759302885769_980512612_nPictured above is Sharon with her Fantasia Ball look from 2013

1. What sparked your passion for fashion?

While I’d like to say that I was born with the fashion bug, I wasn’t.   I started sewing from a very young age.  I would love watching my grandma sew on her vintage Singer sewing machine.  She taught me a few tricks, but I learned on my own as well.  I made a lot of mistakes and I feel that was the best part.  Mistakes give you the opportunity to learn, grow, and challenge yourself.  I’ve been pretty savvy sewer for the most part of my life, but always thought of it as a hobby.  It wasn’t until 2009 when I started my fashion/personal style blog (www.elisharon.blogspot.com) that my passion for fashion really blossomed.  I saw how fashion influence was much more than just clothing!  I decided I wanted to go back to school with the intention of refining my sewing skills and in fall of 2010 I enrolled in the UH Maui Fashion Technology program.   It was one of the best decisions I’ve made.  And I was excited that my husband, Eli wanted to join the program as well.  Although it’s taking some time to complete the program, I know that we will surely reap the benefits.

2. Is this your first year showing at Fantasia Ball? What do you look forward to?

This is my third year participating and I’m excited and thankful that Imua Family Services invited the UHMC Fashion Tech student designers to showcase our work once again.   I’m definitely looking forward to the runway show and watching our designs come to life!

3. Why do you think it’s important to support our keiki?

The keiki are the future.  It’s important to impact them in a positive way.  We are responsible to teach them all we can to ensure that they bring greatness into the world.

4. Can you relate to not picking up on something as quickly as your peers? Can you explain?

While I feel I’m a fast learner, I struggle, too.  For the most part I can absorb and retain information quickly but if I can’t, I make sure to ask questions until I understand.  And when I feel I’m confident in what was learned, I love helping others out.

5. Can you describe your design aesthetic?

I am in love with all things feminine.  I feel that my design aesthetic will forever be changing and evolving, but I will always circle back to the feminine touches.  I like girly silhouettes, like circles skirts, ruffles, volume, but also love refinement and clean lines.  I used to avoid top-stitching like the plague, but recently, I’ve enjoyed using that detail in my designs.  My husband’s design aesthetic is on the edgier side, so I think it’s a perfect balance and we can bring different ideas to the table.

6. 3 wardrobe tips for our guests getting ready for Fantasia Ball 2014?

Confidence is key.  You can be wearing the most exquisite garment, but if you don’t rock it with confidence, it will surely show.

Have fun! Getting dressed up is all about having fun.  Fashion is about self expression and you want that to shine through in what you wear.

Statement heels!  For someone like me who only stands at 5’ 4” (on a good day, lol!), a great high heel works wonders and can sometimes change your life… just ask Cinderella!

7. How many hours have you spent working on this look?

I’ve lost count, but I know a lot of coffee has been consumed to make this design come to life!

8. When you graduate where do you see yourself?

I hope to have a clothing line with my hubby, Eli.  It’s a great feeling to have a person by my side that has the same passion and goals.  We truly are a great team and vibe off one another harmoniously.

9. How can fashion make a difference in today’s world?

I feel that fashion is more than the clothing and accessories that someone wears.  It is a lifestyle and culture.  It is the self-expression of an individual that can set them apart from the rest.  I feel that fashion can and is making a difference it the world because fashion is all around us.  You just have to take a moment to see the beauty of fashion around you.