The last few weeks have been crammed full of inspiring activities in my A Level lessons to get my students hooked and engaged with their new project - the exam unit! On Monday I set my AS Textiles students the challenge of creating a paper dress. The exam theme is 'Covert and Obscured' and my students been researching the work of fashion designers and artists who use recycled materials to create garments and accessories, often creating pieces so beautiful that the recycled materials used are almost unrecognisable. To begin the lesson we looked at the work of designer Gary Harvey alongside the 'Junk Fashion Show' put together by fashion students from Krakow's school of Art and Fashion design.
I then gave the students a pile of newspapers and they looked to origami, simple folding techniques and experimenting with heat transfer onto paper to create a series of small experiments individually. We stopped intermittently to discuss processes that were working well and began planning what could be created to construct the dress. The students then worked together to dress the mannequin using staples and tape to hold the experiments together. I think the finished result is beautiful and it showed them that an artistic fashion piece can be made quickly and with limited materials, whilst encouraging them to explore the maximum potential of those materials!
I love that there is plenty of scope to use this approach to add deeper meaning in a range of different directions depending on your choice of contextual link. You could look back to the 1960s when the paper dress was a desirable disposable fashion pieces, discuss pieces that make a social comment like Gary Harvey's or look at contemporary fashion which uses orgami as inspiration, blogger Ajurette Maga has put together a wonderful two part blog post with a brilliant collection of designers (part 1 and part 2) for this!
As always let us know if you have a go at this after reading or get in touch and share if you've done a similar project!
- Claire ❤