Ten Minutes with Donna Huber
A Fashion and Design Teacher
Photo Kendra Wingate
Donna Huber is a lifelong Fairfield resident whose immigrant grandmother, a seamstress, taught her to sew at age eight. Huber graduated from University of Bridgeport with a design and merchandising degree, later working for a company whose clients included Heublein and Jose Cuervo. Huber was excited to be a part of designing Cuervo’s beachwear. She always knew she wanted to teach and with prompting from a former principal, got her teaching degree in Family and Consumer Sciences.
How would you characterize our own fashion style?
My style would be described as classic, current, but age appropriate.
Where do you shop?
I shop everywhere! I am a snob about the construction of clothing. We are in a disposable clothing society, so fashion reflects quickly made clothing—style without commitment. I spend money on good classics, like pants, dresses, tailored shirts, and coats, but shop lesser quality items for faddish items. If money was no object, I’d shop in Paris, of course! I took students there last year and will be going again in April. Just to see what is being presented and how it trickles into US mainstream fashion later on is amazing.
What is the greatest part of your job?
The first time a student realizes that they made a garment that fits them properly. Their look of accomplishment never ceases to fulfill me.
Who are you design heroes?
I love the look of Carolina Herrera. I think she has a timeless design quality with a hint of newness. Harper’s Bazaar did an article in recently on young designers to watch and one that caught my eye was Chris Gelinas, a New York based womenswear designer who also has his own line. He designs for Becken, which is made entirely in New York.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I am someone who looks at fabric and gets inspired. I also look at old movies and shows. There are cuts and fabrics that can easily be incorporated today in a fresh, new way. Sometimes I focus more on the costuming rather than the plot of what I’m watching.
Can you tell me more about the student-run boutique?
Every year the high school Fashion Merchandising class implements their learning to produce the boutique Bella. Merchandise trends are researched, bought at wholesale or made, costed, advertised, merchandised, and displayed to sell. The students are in control of the whole operation.
Have you or your students had any wardrobe malfunctions?
One year a student made a seersucker strapless dress. She thought it might be too sheer under the runway lights so she decided to wear white spandex shorts underneath. When she walked down the runway, all you could focus on was the spandex glowing through the dress because the lights of the runway reflected off it.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
In fashion: “Are you creating clothing or fashion? There’s a difference.” From my mother: “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you who you are.”