Model walks the runway at The Dalí Museum

Fashion Design at The Dalí

This free program allows artistically inclined high school students from the Tampa Bay area to learn the fundamentals of design, construction and runway presentation from experienced artists and designers. Through nontraditional materials, students are invited to think creatively to produce wearable works of art that translate from sketch to runway.

The program meets weekly at Pinellas County Center for the Arts (PCCA) in Gibbs High School and is led by Patricia Donnelly, the Department Chair of the Design Technology Department at PCCA. During the semester-long program, students will also hear guest speakers from the industry and visit several Tampa Bay area stores and production facilities to gain insight into the complex world of fashion design.

2023 Program Details
Through creative thinking and nontraditional materials, students are invited to produce wearable works of art that translate from sketch to runway. Student designers are challenged to think critically about their pieces by incorporating this year’s theme and their selected Dalí Museum collection item into their process and design. Drawing from the many animals, insects and sea creatures in Dalí’s artwork, the theme for this year’s program is “Eleg-ants: Designs from Dalí’s Animal Kingdom.”

Beginning September 17, students will meet at PCCA-Gibbs High School from 10am-1pm most Sundays between September and January. The program is 14 weeks long, with time off for Thanksgiving and Winter Break. If accepted to the program, students will receive a detailed weekly schedule, including each week’s focus topic. Some examples of previous topics are Sewing 101 and Rendering and Design. Each student’s designs will be showcased in a final runway event on February 24, 2024, at PCCA-Gibbs High School. Selected designs will win prizes and be honored in a display at Florida CraftArt.

The application deadline for the 2023-24 program was August 25, 2023. All acceptances were announced by September 2, 2023.

Explore the 2023-24 Fashion Design at The Dalí Online Exhibit
See Photos of 2023-24 Fashion Design at The Dalí Creations
Explore the 2022-23 Fashion Design at The Dalí Online Exhibit
See Photos of 2022-23 Fashion Design at The Dalí Creations
Explore the 2021-22 Fashion Design at The Dalí Online Exhibit
See Photos of the 2021-22 Fashion Design at The Dalí Creations
Explore the 2020-21 Fashion Design at The Dalí Online Exhibit
See Photos of 2019-20 Fashion Design at The Dalí Creations
See Photos of 2018-19 Fashion Design at The Dalí Creations
See Photos of 2017-18 Fashion Design at The Dalí Creations


How will I know if my application has been accepted?

Accepted students will be notified via email by September 2. Accepted students must confirm their spot in the program by replying to that email by end-of-day September 5. Students who have not confirmed their spot by September 8 will be removed from the program.

Why are references required with my application and how do I get them?

References from a teacher, mentor, coach or other trusted adult are required with your application. A reference is like a recommendation for you to join the program; they help advocate for your level of responsibility and dedication for a rigorous program like this one.

To get a reference, ask an adult who has worked closely with you in the past to provide their email address and phone number. They should then email a letter of recommendation to Students whose references have sent a letter of recommendation will be given priority acceptance to the program. Parents are unable to serve as a reference unless a student is homeschooled. Trish Donnelly and Sumaya Ayad are also unable to serve as references for the program.

What happens at each session?

Accepted students will receive a schedule with an outline containing weekly focus topics and due dates. Some session topics include Draping and Patterns 101 and Runway Coaching. Most sessions are held from 10am-1pm on Sunday in the PCCA Costume Workshop with some taking place offsite at the Dalí Museum, Neiman Marcus and other stores and design centers.

Some sessions will include guest speakers from various areas and industries or begin with a formal class and end of worktime. Others have no class and are solely an open studio day. Each session varies and students should be prepared for a variety of structures.

What happens at the fashion show?

The day of the fashion show is jam-packed. Students have the option to add finishing touches to their designs on the morning of the fashion show. All students must be present by 1pm for a 6pm show time. In the 5 hours between mandatory arrival and start of show, students have runway and dress rehearsals, do their hair and makeup and go through an interview process with the judges.

Is attendance mandatory?

Yes—student designers are required to attend each session of the program. A total of 3 absences will be allowed before a student is removed from the program. Tardiness of 10 minutes or more (for arrival or departure) will result in half an absence. A total of 6 tardies will result in the removal of a student from the program. Students are expected to be at the door at 10am and are expected to leave campus at 1pm.

How are prizes awarded?

Judges from various industries and skillsets volunteer to adjudicate the designs created in each year’s iteration of Fashion Design at The Dalí. Prior to the fashion show, judges visit regular sessions to observe and speak with student designers. Judges are also briefed by the Program Manager on the progress of each student. They read student artist statements, view their rendering and learn about each student’s inspiration pieces to fully inform their judging process.

At the fashion show, judges conduct interviews with the students and make the final determination for awards in the following categories: Best Rendering, Best Artist Statement, Best Interpretation of Dalí Artwork, Most Wearable, Most Cohesive Presentation, Best Connection to Theme, Most Original in Design, Best Construction of Design, Most Sustainable Use of Materials and Best Overall Design. Check out the Online Exhibitions linked above to see previous student designs.

About the Instructor:
Patricia (Trish) Donnelly, PCCA Design Technology, Costume Design

Trish Donnelly is the Department Chair of the Design Technology Theatre Department at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School. She serves as the costume and stage makeup designer and instructor for the program. In addition to her educational work, Trish designs for professional theater and private commissions. Her costume design work was most recently seen in the American Stage Theatre Company’s production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night and during the 2017 Gasparilla Pirate Festival.

Trish received her Associate of Arts from Florida State University and went on to receive her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL. At Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN, she completed advanced classes in the study of Fiber Arts. Trish has also completed intensive classes in Stage, TV, Film and Historic Makeup Design at the London College of Fashion in London, England as the result of receiving a Surdna Arts Teachers Fellowship.

Trish was awarded the Tampa Bay 2012 Jeff Norton Outstanding Costume Design for her Rocky Horror Show design for the American Stage Theatre Company. Trish also received the 2014 Florida Theatre Conference Award of Outstanding Contribution to Florida’s Theatre in High Schools.

Trish is joining Fashion Design at The Dalí as Program Instructor for the sixth year in a row. She has served as instructor for the program since its inception.

Thank you to our program sponsors:

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