Heard a report from the young man and saw a video clip of the "fashion show" that ended the class project. His black-and-white vest over white was striking at a distance, with just black jeans. Most others used vibrant colors and tended to go "big", so his "bones" was an eye-catcher on his lanky frame.
Lots of very creative people - but no experience in fabric sewing - all trying to put their creativity onto a base that had to be WAY out of their comfort zone. One young woman just learned to sew one shape like a small oval pillow, and made it over and over again. You wouldn't have thought that was too impressive, but used as "scales" for the base of her fish jacket, they looked great, in shiny magenta fabric.
They had an elevated "runway" and got a large crowd - after all it's a college, and young people are willing to walk over and see "what's going on over there?", especially when they see odd clothing/costuming, or sense that someone is embarrassed! I think there was a lot of stress during the project (he says some students were really pulling out their hair over working their class designs onto garments), but also a lot of satisfaction, so maybe some will be willing to approach sewing machines as another "machining design" tool now. Maybe the professors knew what they were doing. Their students have to get nervous and experience deadlines with all kinds of machines, or they're not prepared, I guess.