Student stands next to mannequin displaying her award winning floral dress

(July 22, 2023) In a heated battle in Denver, Chloie Roupe earned herself a silver medal, but the East High School senior wasn't involved in any athletic endeavor.

Instead, Roupe, a budding fashion designer, scored the win for her concept dress that was fancy enough for prom but comfy enough for a night of dancing.

"I was competing with high school students from all across the country," she said of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) National Leadership Conference, held July 2 - 6. "It was really intense."

A national nonprofit organization with more than 175,000 members in more than 5,300 chapters, the FCCLA points students towards career exploration while helping them to develop the planning, goal setting, problem solving, decision making and interpersonal communication skills needed at home and in the workplace.

Roupe first began involved with FCCLA as a student with the Sioux City Community School District Career Academy's fashion design pathway.

"I've always thought traditional prom dresses were too tight, too cumbersome and too heavy to wear," she said. "I conducted a survey among other students and they agreed with me."

"Girls were telling me that they'd have to leave an event early, simply because their dresses were too uncomfortable," Roupe continued. "I was determined to find a fashion solution."

Working with soft, pajama-like material, she was able to create a prototype gown that allowed for optimal movement on the dancefloor while remaining comfortable for the wearer.

Roupe's creation wowed the crowd in her Career Academy classroom as well as at a statewide FCCLA  fashion competition, held in Cedar Rapids in March.

That allowed her to advance to the national FCCLA fashion contest, which attracted many industry movers and shakers.

Which is exactly the kind of exposure Roupe wants for her designs.

"My family always said I was born with a needle and thread in my hand,"  she noted with a smile. "That's an exaggeration but I can't remember a time when design wasn't important to me."

Read the full story by The Sioux City Journal's Earl Horlyk.

Photo provided by The Sioux City Journal.