[Updated w/additional photos] Umbrellas, the inside of a computer, bottle caps and grocery bags from all local stores. These aren’t traditional design materials when you think of haute couture, but they were some of the unconventional fabric choices for the sold out Eco Runway competition on Friday night [Nov 16] at The Bermuda High School.
Eco Runway is inspired by Project Runway the popular design reality competition hosted by Heidi Klum. In the BHS version, 36 students in nine teams took place in the 6-week competition to design, execute and send two outfits down the runway; one avant garde and one ready-to-wear. The eco catch was that at least 50% of the materials used in each design were required to be made from recycled or found objects.
Team ReNew, consisting of Sophia Schwertl and Charlotte Griffiths with models Aoife Rynne and Kenyu Hoshina, won the competition overall with their technologically-inspired designs. Team ReNew provides some background for their vision: “We all acknowledge computers and technology is our future, but we have to remember our past, so we took apart computers and keyboards to find out what was inside that we could use.
“We then experimented with different ways to mix the modern computer parts with components of the past. For the male model we used a Roman theme and an Elizabethan design for the collar of our dress. We used designs from the past, but kept the materials futuristic.”
The CaTeMs, Connie Campbell and Megan Bower, with models Juliana Franco and Alecia Hollis, were awarded best avant garde design for their dress, the bottom half of which was made out of opened umbrellas for a very dramatic silhouette.
Team Redesigned, Sabina Stan, Mia Fung, Kathleen McBeath, Kristin Dill and Courtney Browne (the latter two as models) were awarded best ready-to-wear design for their nautically-themed dress made mostly from old sails and plastic gloves from volunteering with Daily Bread.
Teams were each assigned a mentor from the local fashion community, to provide advice and guidance throughout the competition. In addition, Bersalon donated two stylists who consulted with the teams and provided hair and makeup for the runway show and Trikeita LeShae worked with the teams at the dress rehearsal, prepping them for their walk down the runway.
This is the second year that The Bermuda High School has held this event; last year it was recognised by the Bermuda National Trust for combining an appreciation of environmentalism with a love for design. Funds raised from Eco Runway will be used to support BHS’s Financial Aid Programme.
Juliana Franco said: “As a model who has participated in Eco Runway two years in a row, I am always astounded by the ingenuity of the designs at the end of the competition. My team changed their designs twice in the week prior to the runway show, after their initial idea didn’t work and managed to win best avant garde design.”
Hannah Lampit said: “This was a very inspirational and creative experience and was a great way to use team work skills. It was great to realise all the different things one can reuse, like using Halloween candy wrappers to make bracelets. It was educational and exciting and I can’t want to do it again next year.”
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