Magazine pages, maps, straws, used tea bags and a shower curtain sound like a strange mix of items that just don’t go together. But these Colorado State fashion design students made a way to “make it work!” as Tim Gunn would say and put on a show that was worthy of any Avant Garde challenge on Project Runway. All the students delivered on opening night, wowing viewers with their handiwork and I had the pleasure of talking to a couple design teams of hard working students who presented their garments.
“I have several dream careers” shared first year student Nogah Seidemann who is part of the team that designed the tea bag dress. “Ideally the dream is to be a freelance designer, but I would also love to work for Victor and Ralph or Liberty London Textile Company because I also enjoy graphic design.” Nogah, who recently applied for the Design program at CSU, recalls always loving art but found fashion when she helped with costume design in her high school theater department. Her background in costume is seen transitioned into the garment that she and her team members worked on. Nogah and Rachel explained how the team was inspired by “an Anthropology display that used tea bags and thought it was a cool and interesting idea”.
When asked what the process was like to create such an intricate and difficult garment, they recalled that it took four hours just to dye the tea bags! “We had buckets of brewed tea, we didn’t know what to do with it!” the girls laugh as they remembered. The design room most likely ended up looking like a soup kitchen by the time the girls were done but dying the bags was only half the battle. It wasn’t until seven hours later when they could triumphantly hot glue the last tea bag and complete the colorful yet elegant evening gown. Rachel told me about how they encountered a hot glue gun incident when fingers became glued together! But as the saying goes “no pain, no gain” and in the end their dress was one of the highlights of the night, so you could say it was worth it!
Aside from sticky fingers and buckets of hot beverages, the girls encountered a couple bumps in the road with their gown. “We actually had some struggles with the placement of the tea bags since there were many different shapes and sizes.” Nogah explains. “Also when we used the same colors to dye different teabags, they ended up coloring differently because of the various tea leaves which we didn’t consider beforehand” recounted Rachel.
I asked the girls if the gown has a specific target market or clientele because who wouldn’t want to wear a tea bag dress? You would be the brew of the ball (instead of belle, get it?)
Unfortunately not, instead the team decided to follow their creative intuition instead of follow the crowd. Yet who knows, maybe it will be a new trend in the future. So maybe when Rachel lands her dream job of working for Elie Saab she can show him a thing or two about incorporating food into his garments, but this time without the meat dress (Yes, we’re looking at you Lady Gaga.)
Team Members: Nogah Seidemann, Rachel Harris, Julia Getz and Haley Shwenger.
Think of a dress made out of a layer of straws, then add another layer and then add five more layers of straws. At first you may think, how can you wear that? But this team of first year students re-imagined the fringe trend and turned some crafty tools into a classic 1920s look.
“You could say this was a last minute look! We played around with so many different styles and ideas that in the end we decided to go for a simple flapper dress” recalls Johnathan, one of the three team members who worked on the 1920’s remake. The team did a fantastic job because I never would have guessed that they threw it together at the last minute. It looked classy and well “We knew we definitely wanted to work with straws so we ordered 1000 off amazon!” said Kaitlin. We also bought an X-large t-shirt to look like a dress on the model and some lace for the
I asked both Jonathan and Kaitlin how they became interested in fashion and why they chose the design class even though neither are pursuing a degree in Fashion Design or Merchandising. Both students are in Human Development and Family Studies and had the opportunity to choose this class out of three other options for an elective class. If you ask me I think more majors should have a design or art elective because what is better than coming to class and being told to be as creative as you want? Nothing!
“I found my love for fashion when I took a fashion class my freshman year of high school” said Johnathan.
Kaitlin explained how she has always had a love for art and has been interested in how shapes and colors work together. “I follow blogs. I also read European and Australian and fashion and lifestyle magazines. My favorite is Frankie magazine.” The lifestyle magazine covers everything from arts and craft, fashion and beauty, music, books, photography and travelling. A little bit of everything and a little something for everyone!
Team members: Jonathan Hernandez, Kaitlin Davis and Megan Majors