Published on 29/01/18
Stephen Perse Foundation students are using recycled materials to make high-fashion designs in their Project Runway enrichment
This term at the Stephen Perse Foundation students from Years 10 to 13 have the opportunity to become fashion designers in a Project Runway-esque competition using only recycled materials.
Each week the students are given the same creative challenge: To create a garment in 60 minutes using a different range of recycled materials each time. The concept is loosely based on the popular American reality television series that focuses on fashion design. In the real show, the contestants compete with each other to create the best clothes and are restricted by time, materials and theme. Their designs are judged by a panel, and one or more designers are typically eliminated from the show each week.
For the Stephen Perse version however, the Judging panel consists of teachers from the Art department, and no one is eliminated! The students work in pairs or groups of three and the winning designs are featured on the department's Twitter and Instagram accounts as well as the incentive of an edible prize.
An important part of the project is that the students consider the nature of different materials from sustainable and unsustainable resources, as well as considering the broader ethics of the fashion industry and waste. The Project Runway challenge raises awareness and encourages discussions of current issues that surround plastic packaging, up-cycling and ethical fashion.
As well as the underlying message the Head of Visual Arts, Ben Keeble also highlights the enjoy nature of Project Runway:
"The project will challenge student's creative thinking, collaborative skills, and the ability to work swiftly under pressure, whilst hopefully having some fun."
The first week's challenge was using recycled newspapers and last week was plastic, with particular inspiration from fashion designer Gareth Pugh. The fantastic designs by our students sparked so much interest that the Cambridge Independent paper has written feature article on their work and the significance of ethical fashion that their work represents.