Former fabric designer donates material to class


Deanna Bentley

Carol Fergus shows off old sketches to students.

Riley Stinson, Staff Reporter

The fashion industry today is in very high demand for individuals with unique skills and assets, but luckily for the students here at Vandegrift they are supplied with many outlets for success. Fashion Design teachers Stacy Pomerantz and Deanna Bentley brought in Carol Fergus, a well known swimsuit designer in the ‘50s to the ’70s, to teach students about the fashion industry back then.

Carol Fergus donated her vintage fabrics from when she worked at Jantzen Swim Company to the Fashion Design Department. Students were thrilled at the opportunity to work with such elegant, delicate pieces and explore the fashion trends that dominated that time period.

“The students really fell in love with her,” Bentley said. “I think Carol loved coming back to Vandegrift and talking about her life along with her story and how her love for fashion design contributed to the swimwear industry.”

Although Carol Fergus worked for a swimsuit company, her passion for creating pieces did not stop at just swimwear.

 “There’s a fraternity dress from the ’60s and also a jacket with a skirt ensemble that she started making it in the ’50s,” Bentley said. “But she didn’t finish it and we have those on some mannequins in the classroom.”

Bentley met Fergus through mutual friends from Leander ISD and found her story extremely fascinating. Bentley wanted Fergus to come speak to the Fashion Design students and extended an invite to which Fergus was honored.

“She brought fabric samples and swimsuit samples and some of her sketches and drawings, she was a great resource to us and was a great guest speaker,” Bentley said. “The fabrics though, there’s some vintage clothing fabrics and vintage swimsuit fabric that she used when she worked for Jantzen and she was part of the textile creation process.”

Fashion Design has only been an elective for three years so it is fairly knew to the Vandegrift course selections. Students have grown to popularize and love the program while learning skills no other class can provide.

“For fashion one, students create their own line of clothing. They create their own business while creating their own logo and fashion design company of their own.” Bentley said. “It’s an introductory class, but they also learn basic skills. They’re learning the principles and elements of design and they’re also learning basic construction skills.”

The fabrics donated and the guest speaking changed the program as a whole. It brought new light to fashion history and brought a glimmer of the past into the classroom’

“I wish she could come back and speak with students again,” Bentley said. “She was so fabulous and I’m so sad that I did not record her when she came. Luckily, we have so many generous people in our community who would donate more items for the students to use.”