MHS senior has an eye for fashion

Couch chasing dream of becoming a designer

By Mike Douglas Marion School District

As a high school senior, knowing what you want to do with your life is one thing. Actually working diligently toward that objective is impressive. Shakia Couch has known all her life that she wanted to be a fashion designer. The MHS senior set her sights on that goal when she was just nine years old. “I was seeing other people doing it and I wanted to do that too,” she said. And the talent runs in the family. Shakia’s grandmother is a seamstress who has designed and made tailored men’s suits. Shakia will proudly tell you she works on a sewing table that her seamstress-grandmother gave her. Her Aunt Regina, who does not sew, gives her all the encouragement she needs. Her talents had not gone unrecognized outside her circle of family and friends. She is an intern for Memphis designer Terra Shelly. “I love working with her,” Shakia said. “Terra doesn’t follow, she sets the trends.” She recently finished helping the designer produce her vintage line of clothing, including making five dresses in one week. Right now, Shakia is working on a competition piece for Memphis Fashion Week set for April, 2016. The item has to be all cotton. “It is different. You won’t see it in stores,” Shakia said. “It is avant-garde fashion style and that pushes me to think outside the box. It makes me push hard.” To that extent, Shakia does not make her clothing from store-bought patterns. She comes up with the fashion idea and then makes her own patterns. “I learned to make patterns from videos,” she said. Once the pattern is made and the material is cut, which can take six or more hours, Shakia uses three dress forms and one or more of her six sewing machines to create her fashion. Right now, she said about 50 percent of her production is skirts and dresses. When you add the alterations that come her way, she stays very busy honing her skills. Last prom season, Shakia designed and made three prom dresses for friends. This year, her goal is 10 dresses, not including her own prom dress. When she is not on the floor of her room cutting a pattern or at a sewing machine putting her creation together, Shakia is very busy with her classes. She attends ASU Mid-South mornings and evenings, taking macro-economics, English Comp I, radio production, and cinematography. The academics do not get any easier at MHS where she takes AP Environmental Science and Spanish II. “I want to finish college at Rhoades College in Memphis,” she said. “I am determined to graduate from college early.” She has secured scholarships to the prestigious college and is in the mix for the Bill Gates Millennial Scholarship, of which only one is awarded to one student per state. She plans to major in business, marketing and sales. “I have a lot of mentors to help me. My aunt pushes me and helps me a lot and my grandmother can always show me an easier way to do something,” Shakia said. “I love doing this. It is my way of being different. And I am not taking ‘no’ for an answer.”

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