Lohiya transforming self-taught skill into inspired masterpieces

Lohiya transforming self-taught skill into inspired masterpieces

By Trisha Atluri, Coppell High School

As the persistent clicks of the sewing machine bounce off the blush-colored walls of her study, Coppell High School sophomore Mehak Lohiya settles into an easy rhythm. 

Just minutes before, Lohiya was welcoming me into her home, scooping her Maltichon puppy, Snowy, into her arms as he nipped at my shins. Now, however, her sheepish grin is replaced by lips pursed in concentration. Her steady hands push the folds of a metallic blue fabric under the needle of the machine as she works on a dress for her best friend, CHS sophomore Mihira Kada.

Lohiya designs dresses and costumes for sale and for theater, but this one is a special gift for Kada’s birthday party on May 2. While she started selling clothes last fall, she has designed garments since age 5 – although her earlier creations were for Barbie dolls rather than humans.

“With normal dresses, there’s a societal standard,” Lohiya said. “You have to know what’s in style, whereas for theater, you can go all out. It really depends on the character you’re designing for. Whenever you’re making something for theater, you can go all in, you can do whatever you want, whereas for normal dresses you have to hold back and keep in mind what is marketable and what other people would wear.”

Since seventh grade at Coppell Middle School West, Lohiya has constructed costumes for the Texas Thespian Festival. Her first effort was a Cinderella dress. Most recently she designed a costume based on The Little Mermaid villain Ursula, for which she received a perfect score from five judges, qualifying her for the larger International Thespian Festival where she will compete for a Thespy award. 

In addition to teaching Lohiya in class every day, CHS theater director Karen Ruth directed her performance in the Coppell theater department’s UIL production “You on the Moors Now,” in which Lohiya played four different roles.

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This story was originally published on Coppell Student Media on May 14, 2021.