Trash in fashion

MARQUETTE -When it comes to atypical thinking and problem solving, Negaunee High School students lived up to the challenge with their Trash-in Fashion Show project for art class.

The Trash-in Fashion Show project was given to NHS art students in mid-March by teacher Barb Savolainen. The project challenges students to create a garment out of atypical materials with a focus on reusing and upcycling, Savolainen said.

“It was a project that I had seen when I was down at an art conference and I had thought it was really cool,” she said. “It started out as a project, but things were just rolling so great that it had just blossomed into sharing it with other people.”

All of the base garments either came from Goodwill or from the students’ homes. Those garments were then made into something completely different by adding objects like streamers, rubber gloves, shotgun shells, Target bags, broken CDs, magazines and many other objects. The creations will be displayed at a fashion show.

This is the first year Savolainen said she was doing this project and thinks she will continue it going forward.

“There have been a lot of unforeseen challenges, but in a good way because there’s a lot of adaptations and decisions to be made,” she said. “One would think that putting things on clothing wouldn’t be as hard as it has been.”

Savolainen said the biggest challenges have been adapting materials that aren’t meant for fashion, getting things to fit right and getting the objects to stay attached to the garments.

“With Katie (Lambert) and Zack (Maki), they both started out with something else, but it’s kind of been this evolution. They both had this idea, but it’s had to change,” she said. “Another thing about this project that’s been kind of cool is that when something isn’t working they have to come up with a solution to that problem and think about what they have to do to make it work.”

Lambert and Maki, both seniors, are making a dress and a full suit out of streamers that have been braided together and pinned to the garments.

Remaining is to make the dress train longer and finish the bodice and suit coat.

“He was originally doing umbrellas and I was originally going to do a computer dress,” Lambert said. “I realized my computer dress wasn’t going to work and I wasn’t going to have time to do it so we just decided work together and do the same thing.”

Maki said he changed his mind about the umbrellas when he realized he could make a suit out of the streamers. Both students said they were pleased with how things were going so far.

“This is just really something that’s kind of different than what everybody else is doing and the goal, conceptually, is not to have the same thing going down the runway,” Maki said.

Lambert and Maki said they are enjoying the project and Lambert said she found it interesting.

“I feel like a big broom, but it’s great,” Lambert said as she was modeling the dress they made. “I haven’t worn a dress this poofy since my eighth grade dinner dance.”

Some students are modeling their own creations and others have models to wear their creations on the runway. But all of the creations made in class can be seen at the Trash-in Fashion Show at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Negaunee High School Auditorium.

The admissions fee is a suggested $1 donation for the local charity Rachael’s Hope Scholarship Fund, which was created in memory of Rachael Beacco who was a young Negaunee High School graduate who recently passed away due to cancer.

The charity was chosen by the art students.

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243.