On Teaching Fashion: Fashion Outreach Experiment

I have been waiting for an occasion to experiment with generative fashion collaboration similar to Ellen’s Off-Figure Fashion Styling Assignment. Since there has not been an opportunity to add another project in my classes, I organized an extracurricular project through our student fashion club.

A little background: Last fall I was approached by a local salon that organizes a charity fashion fundraiser each year. They have promised full hair and make-up and have requested 5 looks to auction off during this year’s event.

Work In Progress: Working in collaboration I have challenged students to develop 5 looks (based in a diversity of ways) on the the theme given to us by the organizer “beautiful dreamer” we have teased this out to include “steampunk ball gown” “like isseymiake” “textile tectonic” and other fun meta-themes the students came up with.
Students are now working in teams during 4 studio days (organized on Monday and Wednesday evenings) to develop 5 looks that are re-designed from vintage and thrift store finds, deadstock items.

Looks will be re-interpretations (embellished, manipulated, over-dyed). As I said,  the looks will be professional modeled with amazing 3D hair and avant-garde make-up, a great portfolio piece. We will donate final  garments to the fundraiser and  proceeds will go to KIDDS Center for Grieving Children and their families. I launched the project 2 weeks ago and we are in the thick of things as I write, I would like to share some insight:

  1. Students relish in the opportunity to experiment
  2. Re-design projects offer tangible skills in garment construction
  3. Students self organize quickly
  4. This project has taken significant time above and beyond my regular teaching duties, so fyi: plan accordingly.


I will let you know how it goes, the show is March 5. I am including some process shots of the students. I am curious to know if you initiate or engage in any “fashion outreach” projects with your community at large.  What are your thoughts about the idea of fashion outrach? I imagine some saying “well, it isn’t counted toward tenure so why would I expend the energy” while others are rolling up there sleeves to join in? All in all, this sort of short, high energy, experimental project inspires me most because in a since we are fashioning community. I would love to hear from you, Happy teaching!


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