This past January, local Kansas City designer, Whitney Manney, was invited to create a piece of art for Kansas City Live’s Art Attack challenge. The challenge is to create a piece of artwork in less than an hour. But here’s the catch, the artwork has to be donated to a charity. Knowing how art has benefited her, it was an instant match when she learned about HALO online. Painting three purses during the challenge, Whitney donated the one-of-a-kind items to HALO’s 9th Annual ArtReach Auction. Since then, Whitney has become more involved with the HALO Foundation and just finished her Fashion Design workshop in HALO’s Learning Center.
For seven weeks, Whitney taught a small group of youth to sew, think creatively, and transform this creativity into design. The new skills and confidence gained from the workshop has prepared the youth for their big night, HALO’s 4th Annual Fashion Show taking place this Friday night. “I love how the kids have continued to stay interested in sewing throughout the workshop,” said Whitney. “The world tends to love fashion, but the world doesn’t understand the process and the work that goes into it. Most people learn how difficult and timely it is, forget about it, and move on. After seven weeks, the kids are still enjoying the work and sad the workshop is ending.”
Whitney was one of these dedicated kids herself. “I taught myself to sew when I was 13 years old. I knew I wanted to do something with art and drawing and writing came easily for me, but sewing was a challenge. I had to push myself to be better and I wanted to work hard.” Youth in Whitney’s workshop not only enjoyed working hard, but also had fun letting their personalities influence their fashion design. Whitney encouraged the youth to not just replicate other clothing, but create something unique. However, thinking outside the box was difficult for the youth at first. Whitney gave them the idea to think about their favorite outfit and use that for inspiration. She has long used street art and graffiti for her own fashion design. Vibrant colors and patterns usually find their way into her designs. After seven weeks of inspiration and design, Whitney tells us to expect a lot of transformed denim from the youth at the Fashion Show.
Learn about the Fashion Show and purchase tickets here.