Grady’s UrbanCouture students prepare for televised show

Fur is literally flying on the campus of Grady High School this week as UrbanCouture founder and teacher Vincent Martinez helps his senior design students prepare for the Jan. 15 “Doggies on the Catwalk” fashion fund-raiser. While this annual event places Atlanta celebrities and their pooches on the catwalk in student-designed ensembles, making it a perennial favorite among local pet lovers and fashionistas alike. But this year’s production will be even bigger than before, thanks to Georgia Public Broadcasting, which will host the show and air a one-hour documentary on the student production later this month.

“This show has grown up — quickly,” said Martinez, who stopped to chat between running errands for the show. “We’ve gone from being a toddler to being an adult.”

Now in its seventh year, the UrbanCouture program introduces students to fundamentals of fashion design, from budgeting for materials to creating a cohesive collection. Martinez also teaches students about marketing and merchandising. The stylish fruits of their labor have garnered attention from the Atlanta fashion scene. An Atlanta boutique hosted a student showcase and Carter-Barnes Hair Artisans provided hair and makeup for the annual shows. Strong support from the business community has inspired students to do more.

“It has elevated this program to such heights that it keeps my students interested and motivated in all areas,” he said. “They realize suddenly, ‘I’m not dealing with just Mom and Dad or Mr. Martinez, I’m dealing with professionals.”

Soon, clothing from Grady’s UrbanCouture alums may appear in a store near you. Until then, get a sneak peak at these young artists during the 7 p.m.  Jan. 15 “Doggies on the Catwalk” event. Seating is limited due to the venue change, but tickets are available online for $25 at A silent auction also will take place this year, with proceeds benefiting PALS Atlanta, which provides support to pets of disabled and critically ill Atlantans.

Doggies on the Catwalk, 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15, at the Georgia Public Broadcasting building. 260 14th Street NW Atlanta, GA 30318

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