Carthage senior wins fashion design award


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CARTHAGE — A north country high school student will be able to see the dress she designed brought to life for her prom.

Carthage High School senior Keely C. O’Connor said that her study hall supervisor Michel Gravelle showed her a flyer advertising Scholastic Books’ “Selection” Fashion Design Contest in November, and said she “thought it sounded like a fun idea.”

While she had never designed clothing before, Keely has previously been recognized for her art skills. She won 2015 Congressional Art Competition for New York’s 21st District and was recognized by the Lions Club for her submission to its International Peace Poster Contest in 2013.

Keely currently interns at the Touch of Grace dress boutique in Watertown and said that, along with her own imagination, she was inspired by some of the dresses in the shop. Contestants’ designs are meant to reflect the fashion style in the “Selection” series of young adult novels by Kiera Cass.

Keely said she had read the books in middle school, and donated the editions she won to “other kids who I know would love to have signed copies of them.”

She recalled being surprised when she got the call about the “Selections” competition, saying that “since the other contest I had entered with Scholastic was over, I really didn’t know why they would be calling me.”

“I was so excited,” she said, “I did freak out a little bit!”

Keely’s dress, which was illustrated using metallic paint “to really capture the gold and make the colors more vibrant,” will be brought to life by a New York City-based designer.

Keely said she the dress is expected to be completed in time for prom, and she’ll “definitely wear it” there.

Keely, the daughter of Kellie T. and David C. O’Connor, said she plans to attend Tufts University to study for her fine arts degree.

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