Ask the students in Devon Wells' fashion merchandising class at Payson High School what they think of the local fashion scene and you'll likely get a collective and derisive snort.
Talk to a few of them outside of class, and you'll get the inside lowdown. What this town needs fashion-wise is "a lot of help," said Senior Jennifer Taylor.
"This is an older community of senior citizens," said Junior Chancy Brown. "They don't have a great sense of fashion, but I don't think it really matters to them anyway."
Many teenagers don't even bother to shop for clothes in the Rim country, said senior Jocie Gresslie. "Students who have their license will go down to the Valley to get their stuff."
To do their part to bring a little fashion sophistication to the Rim country, Wells' class will stage the 14th Annual PHS Fashion Show at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. March 26 in the school auditorium. "This is a big event," Wells said.
"It's a major production, like one of the plays the Silers put on. To begin with, it takes a lot of work to get a group of girls to agree on things," she said.
The students handle all aspects of the show, with committees assigned to publicity and advertising, props, writing, music, a thank you party, the program and even intermission.
"They are responsible for everything including the acting, the contacting, the scripting and the theme," Wells said.
Besides stores in the Valley such as Dillard's, Macy's and the Foot Locker, clothing will be provided by local stores such as Corral West, Extreme Boardwalk, and the flower shops which provide tuxedo rentals Flowers by June, Finishing Touch, and Flowers Plus. "We have over $20,000 worth of clothing coming," Wells said.
"We'll have 25 girl models and 18 boy models wearing everything from swimwear and tuxedos to casual wear, wild styles, calm styles just all types."
The class has chosen "Reflections" as the theme of this year's show. "They'll be reflecting back on the 2000-2001 school year," Wells said.
Two teachers will commemorate their first year in the classroom at the show. They are science teacher David Daniels and math teacher Byron Quinlan.
Admission is $1, with the proceeds paying for "all the incidentals," Wells said, "like white shirts that get stained, the thank you pizza party after the show and the props."
Last year was the first time admission was charged, and the crowds were large at both shows, she said.
The show is divided into six scenes: the lake, the first day of school, a Western scene, girls' night out or what's your fantasy, the prom and graduation.
In the fashion merchandising class, students study interior design, fashion design, merchandising and especially the elements of design what you should wear to achieve a certain look and what best complements your features. Students even do displays at places such as Wal-Mart and Corral West.
But these are, after all, high school students, and they also are keen observers of their own fashion scene. Teens, they say, still dress one of three ways as cowboys, darks/goths or preppies/athletes.
Unlike bygone days when you were one or the other, today's teens often change from one look to another. "You can be a preppie one day and a cowboy the next," Brown said.
One thing they don't like is the school's dress code.
"There's no spaghetti straps, no midriff's showing and skirts have to come to the bottom of your fingertips," said Taylor. "That's why we do our fashion show after school hours. If we had to follow the dress code, we wouldn't have a fashion show."