Tori Cafarella, a 2013 graduate of Niagara Falls High School and the Orleans/Niagara BOCES Fashion Design and Interior Decorating program, said that she is grateful to the BOCES program for helping launch her career in Los Angeles.

Cafarella said in her two years in the program, she fell in love with sewing.

“I got a tremendous amount of satisfaction out of creating a useable, wearable piece out of thread and a yard of fabric. Our wonderful teacher, Debbie Wilczak, taught us the basics of color theory, sewing, designing, illustration, pattern drafting, altering, etc. With her guidance and knowledge we would have a three-piece collection at the end of the year.”

That program helped her determine that fashion was going to be her career.

“I applied to FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) and got accepted! That fall I said goodbye to the teacher that sparked my love for fashion, sewing and designing and said ‘Hello!’ to Los Angeles, California!”

After graduating from FIDM, she opened her own shop, Lore is Lost, on Etsy. As she gained success, she decided to open her own shop on her own website.

“I now have an inventory full of my own handmade designs and pieces for the world to buy. I even showcased 10 of my designs in the Islay “LA Runway” Show. Next on my list is being a featured designer in Vancouver Fashion Week! All of this wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for BOCES and Mrs. Wilczak.”

Cafarella is shown with two pieces of her collection from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles.

If you are a junior in high school and interested in being in the Fashion Design/Interior Decorating Program, email Wilczak at dwilczak@onboces.org.