Last Wednesday, Logan Blagg had a green towel and an idea.
The Stephens College junior wanted to create a ball gown using the towel as the bodice and a cut wicker basket to create the skirt. By Friday, the basket she’d ordered hadn’t come in, and Blagg had to revert to Plan B, using pieces of foam and wire to create the skirt instead.
Troubleshooting is one of the main lessons embedded in the annual Pink Dress project at the Stephens School of Fashion and Design.
“It’s an engineering feat,” said Tina Marks, who is teaching the Creating Sustainable Communities course. The project challenges students to create dresses using non-traditional materials. It doubles as a Breast Cancer Awareness project, and several of the dresses will be displayed in store windows downtown during the month of October.
Engineering wise, it’s one of the toughest designs students will work on, Marks said. Students can sketch imaginative works—but sometimes those ideas go awry in the design stage.
“I learned that I need to do a lot more preparation and planning and to make room for troubleshooting,” said Kelly Ferguson, a junior who also had to come up with an alternative plan when her original idea didn’t work.
Ferguson used a circle-patterned shower curtain to remind women to “Spot Cancer Early” through self-screenings in the shower.
The women presented their dresses to Assistant Fashion Communications Professor Lisa Lenoir this afternoon. A Visual Design class will now judge the dresses to determine which will be displayed downtown. This spring, a professional Jury will also judge the dresses, and the top designs will be modeled at the annual student designer fashion show, The Collections.
Junior Audrah Davidson is hoping her delicate fall-themed design survives the numerous moves. Her dress is a shower curtain base embellished with decorative leaves painted pink, a reminder to “Leave Cancer Behind.” The dress is designed to celebrate remission.“It’s fun,” she said Wednesday while gluing leaves. “It’s so much fun. I’m learning a lot—this gets your creativity going.”
Jessica Yuhouse used plastic bags and tissue paper to create her strapless dress. She works in retail and wanted to find a use for the materials that often end up on a landfill. Her dress—which she was able to try on herself—is themed: “Don’t get wrapped up in breast cancer.”
Melinda Thiedig also was able to try on her dress, made up of hundreds of donated wine and Champagne corks painted pink. The dress, which featured the pink ribbon design on the back, wasn’t as uncomfortable as one might imagine, Thiedig said.
Other designs featured water bottles, insulation foam and parts from old high heel shoes.
Although she put in some long hours after her initial plan fell through, Blagg was also ready to show off her finished dress during presentations today. Her dress’s theme, “Uncage Your Inner Strength,” was a play on the birdcage-like skirt. She covered the towel in pink pillow stuffing and Himalayan salt.
The students had just two weeks to design and create the dresses, Marks said. “I’m impressed. I really am.”
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