A student at the Gunnery, a private school in Washington, has been making news with her clothing designs since she was a sophomore.

Now a senior, she is putting her sense of style to the supreme test and learning a skill vital to an emerging career possibility in the process.

Yea Weon has designed her graduation dress and has spent the winter term sewing and constructing it in an independent study class.

Teresa Layman, a Vogue pattern maker for 15 years and a seamstress of regional renown, has been helping her. They have worked two hours every day after classes.

"Designing clothes and making them are entirely different skills," Weon said. "You have to imagine things in 3-D and take gravity into account."

She describes her dress style as traditional Korean Hanbak which has been modernized. "Sewing and constructing take a tremendous amount of time, effort and patience," she said.

As a sophomore, Weon won second place in a national high school fashion design competition sponsored by the Cornell University Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design.

This year, two of her designs won prizes in the Cornell competition, a third place and an honorable mention.

Inspired by her senior seminar on the documentary film, Weon has applied to do a Capstone Project on the fashion designers of Korea during the spring term. She is interested in studying how the fashion designers in her home country interpret traditional Korean dress and modernize it.

"The government supports our designers and has an exposition in New York called Concept Korea," she said.

Weon is keeping her options open for her collegiate future.

Already accepted to the School of Visual Arts in New York and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she is waiting to hear from Pratt Institute, Parsons School of Design, Rhode Island School of Design and Cornell University.