Senior follows designer dreams, commits to London College

Student reflects on high school career of cheer, fashion, theatre

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Cate Emma Warren

Working on the fairies’ costumes, senior Phoenix Gothard adjusts a corset for an actress. Gothard is a part of the theatre department, cheer team, and is the designer of her own fashion line. “With everything I’ve been a part of, I’ve met so many different types of people,” Gothard said. “I still talk to the majority of them, and I hope I will be able to continue to talk to them, even after I graduate.”

Reading Time: 7 minutes

 

The doors open. Flashes of green, brown, black and tan rush by the audience. Music starts to play as the crowd grows. Amidst a cluster of whimsical and airy-like styles, senior Phoenix Gothard’s creations stand out with an edgy, punk theme. Behind the showroom door, Gothard touches up makeup, adjusts hems and steams clothes just minutes before her first design opens the April 22 “Ends of the Earth” fashion show. When her last model walks out onto the school stadium’s community room floor, she can finally let out a deep breath.

A future college fashion major, senior Phoenix Gothard has dreamed of attending school in London since she was young. Now, she has accepted to attend London College of Fashion in the fall. Gothard also works as a costume designer for the theatre department and has worked on three different productions. The past few months, Gothard attended rehearsals to work on the costumes for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the 2021 UIL One Act Play. During this, she has simultaneously worked on her line for the 2021 fashion show “Ends of the Earth,” while also finishing her final and fourth year on the high school cheer team. She’s been a cheerleader since she was 4 years old.

Standing next to the mood board for her outfit, junior Karolina Rubio models one of Gothard’s designs. Rubio has known Gothard since her freshman year. “You can definitely see Phoenix’s style has evolved as she has grown up,” Rubio said. “I have been able to watch her over the past few years and I’ve seen how that has affected her designs and lines. They have reflected more of her personality, and they have become more complex and intricate as she has gotten older. As she has worked on different projects, she has gained valuable experience working on different designs.” Cate Emma Warren

“I would tell (my freshman self) not to stress so much,” Gothard said. “Things will happen certain ways, and everything will not go according to plan, but it’s okay. Just take a deep breath and do what you can while you can.” 

Being committed to multiple activities, Gothard developed a plan while keeping her priorities in mind. This weekly agenda helped her work through each week and complete projects on a timely schedule.   

“It’s really stressful, but I usually split up my time,” Gothard said. “After school for three days a week I work on theatre, and during school, I have two class periods where I work on my fashion designs. That way I have enough time to work on various projects.”

Gothard had planned on making all the costumes for the previous OAP from scratch, only using members of the costuming class for help. However this year, she decided to buy a majority of the costumes and adjust them to her visions for the production. 

“After last year,” Gothard said. “I learned to start earlier and to not let the actors have any say in my work.  Time management is this biggest factor, and I have learned how to focus individual  things in order to make them more neat and clean.” 

Adjusting the strings of sophomore Lauren Grammer’s corset, Phoenix Gothard works on the costumes for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the school’s University Interscholastic League One Act Play. Gothard worked closely with the director to select pieces that fit the adapted setting of the show, which took place in Louisiana during 1920s. “I did research on New Orleans in the 1920s and the impact voodoo had on the culture and traditions of people,” Gothard said. “I then started to sketch ideas of how to influence the fairies with that information in mind.” Cate Emma Warren

This fall, Gothard worked on an Independent Event for the annual Texas Thespian State Festival. The convention usually takes place at the Gaylord Hotel, however this year it was virtual. For her IE, she presented a portfolio for costume design and later qualified for nationals with her designs. 

“I used ‘The Snow Queen’ by Ruth Cantrell,” Gothard said. “I got to express the characters through my designs but also use a high fashion twist on them. It was pretty stressful putting them together. However, there were certain aspects of each character that I got to put into each of my drawings. Like the snow queen, she is really cold as a person, and I showed that through ice. The script discussed how shards of glass in her medallion made her the snow queen, so I used that in my drawing as well.”

From being on the mat since she was 4, Gothard has cheered for nine years and won the National Cheerleading Association Worlds. Gothard competed against other countries in 2016 through the Spirit of Texas. She was a member of the all-female A-team as a “medium senior.”

“Cheer gives me a certain kind of drive and goals to work towards,” Gothard said. “It is also where I get to have fun with my friends and yell as loud as I want to without it being a problem. I enjoy getting to cheer at games, throughout football season, and watching the game and getting to support the school.”

She works tirelessly on her costumes, and when she commits to a project, she always follows through magnificently.”

— Lauren Grammar

She said she believes that competing in cheer is a distinct moment that she will hold onto for the rest of her life. 

“When you walk out on the mat, it is really bright,” Gothard said. “You cannot really see the audience, but you can hear them, and you hear the music start up and look at everyone around you. The whole routine goes by in slow motion. By the time it’s over, it has really only been three minutes, and you are completely out of breath, but you are really genuinely happy. You did the absolute best you could and left everything out on the mat.” 

Running across the field with a flag held high, Phoenix Gothard follows through with this football tradition. Gothard has been in cheerleading for 14 years. “I’ll miss the games the most,” Gothard said. “I often forget that everyone can see me because I’m surrounded by my best friends.” Cate Emma Warren

In her fashion design class, Gothard worked with five other students to showcase their work. Since January, she has created four different designs for the public runway event, which took place on Earth Day, April 22, and was named “Ends of the Earth.” 

“As a class we chose a color palette of earth tones, greens and browns,” Gothard said. “My designs have more of a punk look to it. All of my models will have on boots, but I still wanted to make it casual for everyone so it would not be too much. I also used darker colors since I prefer them. I have used dark greens, dark browns and black to further that.” 

One of Gothard’s fashion models, freshman and fellow cheer team member Gracie Archibeque, said she’s been inspired by Gothard’s work ethic in fashion and cheer and admires her unique personality.

Watching the rest of the fashion show, sophomore Christian Atnip stands by the inspiration board for his dress, designed by senior Phoenix Gothard. For this piece, Gothard took inspiration from Harry Styles, and his work in the December 2020 issue of Vogue. “My goal is to attend London College of Fashion,” Gothard said. “They have very specific programs for each major, and there is an ideal course for international students that I plan to take.” Cate Emma Warren

“Phoenix has always been a huge role model for me,” freshman Gracie Archibeque said. “She has such a different style and mindset than anyone I’ve ever met. She stands out from the crowd. She took me in and became my friend when I didn’t have very many and introduced me to some of my current best friends.”

As for the future, Gothard wants to be in the fashion industry. She said she also sees herself living in Canterbury with possibly a goat or two.

“I think the weirdest thing is to see how much I’ve grown up,” Gothard said “Within the last four years, I’ve become an adult. I think all of the theatre performances, the plays, the shows, all the fashion sewing, the lines, the collections I’ve drawn, all the cheerleading, the football games, and competitions have really built me into who I am. Now, I am really excited to move on to the next stage of my life.”

While cheering during a football game, senior Phoenix Gothard smiles under her mask. Gothard has been a part of the cheer squad for all four years of her high school career. “This year has been kinda hectic, Gothard said. “There is more that I wish I could have done, more that I wish I could have lived through, but I am really really excited for what is to come, and I feel like I have done a lot for me.” (Cate Emma Warren)

I’ve been a part of so much, and I’ve met so many different types of people. I think it is really interesting to see how far I have come in the last four years.”

— Phoenix Gothard