Students in Tina Marks’ Creating Sustainable Communities course are coming up with clever ways to turn recyclable materials into pink-themed garments for the annual Breaking the Pattern challenge.
Designs will be presented in class Wednesday and nine of the 13 will be selected to be displayed in store windows throughout downtown Columbia. Students in Caroline Bartek’s Visual Merchandising Class will be installing the dresses later this month, and the window displays will be up during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
“There are some really creative designs this year,” Marks, an assistant professor, said. “It’s going to be tough to choose.”
The Breaking the Pattern challenge requires students to use non-traditional materials to make dresses that will also be worn on the runway this spring during the student-designer fashion show. Students researched breast cancer and had to come up with a theme that tied their material choices back to breast cancer awareness.
Senior Jennifer Anderson has had family members affected by the disease and knows first-hand the importance of checking for lumps. To reinforce that, she is creating a skirt and bodice out of a bubble-textured bath mat.
Alayna Nieters decided to forgo the dress and opted to create an armored body suit, instead. She used foil and melted plastic bottles to create the look of armor with the theme of armoring oneself with knowledge about the disease.
“I liked the idea of something different, not traditionally female,” she said.
Sophomore Kalynn Coy took a global approach in hopes of emphasizing that breast cancer is a worldwide challenge. To reflect that, she used take-out menus from local restaurants representing different ethnic foods to create a paper skirt. She used Chinese take-out boxes to create the bodice, completing the look with lace trim made from the fortunes found in fortune cookies.
“Working with paper was really challenging,” she said.
Troubleshooting is one of the key lessons students learn from the annual project, Marks said. “It’s about creative problem solving,” she said, adding that not all of the students in the class are studying fashion design. “It definitely is an engineering challenge.”
Reagan Collins, a junior, used a bubble mix to create pink paint bubbles, which she popped to create a splattered pattern on her dress made from a shower curtain. “Breast Cancer Pops Your Bubble” aims to remind people that the disease interrupts lives.
And sophomore Julie Valentine used a trash bag skirt to celebrate women who have thrown away their fears and created a feather top to highlight freedom from fear.
Emily Horner’s dress shows the evolution of sickness to recovery using real, tissue and fake flowers.
“It follows one’s journey from something that has faded into something that has reblossomed,” she said.
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