A ReFashioned Bridal gown. Image supplied.
UCOL students and four New Zealand fashion designers have collaborated to give new life to old wedding gowns. The donated dresses were refashioned and put on display at Whanganui UCOL Edith Gallery and are now being auctioned off on TradeMe with the proceeds going to Hospice Whanganui.
The six UCOL Bachelor of Design and Arts students are all majoring in Textiles/Fashion and were given the task of reworking a dress each with Jane Yeh Designs donating the fabric. UCOL Textiles/Fashion lecturer, designer and Programme Leader Stephanie West, along with fellow fashion designers Sally Eagle, Anita Turner, and Gina Burrows refashioned the other four dresses. The project is called ReFashioned Bridal and came about after Hospice Whanganui Operations Manager Sandy McDougall contacted Stephanie looking to get UCOL Creative degree students involved in a fundraising project.
The project is part of this year’s curriculum for the students and UCOL Graphic Design and Visual Arts students are also supporting the event. They’ve been creating marketing such as flyers, posters and a logo for the exhibition of the dresses as well as running social media channels and documenting the dressmaking through photos and video.
The project has presented an interesting challenge for the team involved.”We’re having to think about limited fabric. The dress I am using is difficult because there are a lot of blemishes on the fabric, so I have to think about how to design around that,” says Stephanie. “Then we have to deal with issues around sizing. It’s presented new challenges for the students and pushed them to problem-solve – it has been a very valuable learning experience or them, one that has direct benefits for our community.”
It’s been an exciting project for the students and something unique that differs from their usual tasks. “It’s challenging, but at the same time it’s easy to get inspiration because you already have the material and the base shape to work with,” says UCOL Bachelor of Design and Arts student Alexandria Morder. “I have an 80s dress, which has a glamourous, princess look. I wanted to build on that, so I’m going for a fantasy look which I think I’ve been able to bring out pretty well.”