Students from Kendra Bonnell’s Advanced Fashion Design class display their outfits made from newspapers Tuesday in the common area of Durango High School. (Katie Chicklinski-Cahill/Durango Herald)
Clothes on display in the school common room
There’s that old joke about newspapers being only good for two things: wrapping the fish and lining the birdcages.
Luckily for this release, the Durango High School students have found a much better use for the older editions – clothing designs.
Students in Kendra Bonnell’s Advanced Fashion Design class, which started a new semester on Jan. 4, took on a challenge from the get-go: pair (or triple) and create unique designs using newsprint.
Anna Finneseth and Kiya Hofmann put their paper pleating skills to work on this dress. (Katie Chicklinski-Cahill/Durango Herald)
“I like to start each semester with an engaging/creative introductory project,” Bonnell said. “Because these students were on the cutting edge of fashion, I wanted to introduce them to the early stages of draping and have them access the basics of their previous fashion course in applying the elements and principles of design in their runway presentations. for every outfit.”
The design teams for the 11 exhibits include: Ava Orndorff and Diana Koshevoy; Sophia Kothe, Maggie Williams and Arianna Rohlf; Anna Finneseth and Kiya Hofmann; Addie Gross and Owen Huff; and Litzy Lopez, Izzy Mora and Alaysia Cullum.
Seniors Orndorff and Koshevoy have two garments on display. The first, a jumpsuit, features bows on both legs as well as a large bow on the bodice and a large bow on the back. The idea came from a shirt that Koshevoy wore one day.
“I was wearing a corset with bows on it, so Ava was like, ‘How about we just do this?’ so we just took it from there. We just kept adding things to it,” she said.
Ava Orndorff and Diana Koshevoy’s jumpsuit features multiple knots. (Katie Chicklinski-Cahill/Durango Herald)
“We knew we wanted bows, but we simplified the base and just added it,” Orndorff added.
The duo also created a chest piece that mimics a human ribcage – the idea for which was actually born out of a misunderstanding.
“This one we did in one class period,” Koshevoy said. “Honestly, when I heard Ava say ‘bows’, I thought she said ‘bones’, and I thought that would be some kind of drug, too.”
Being able to work collaboratively was one of the points of the mission, Bonnell said.
Addie Gross and Owen Huff kept their modern corset design simple and elegant for their Advanced Fashion Design class. (Katie Chicklinski-Cahill/Durango Herald)
“Students develop independent thinking skills, owning and learning from each other when engaged in creative challenges,” she said.
For Sophia Kothe, Maggie Williams and Arianna Rohlf, this challenge brought them back to history for their three pieces that feature bustles, big shoulders and dramatic capes.
“Maggie and I were really inspired by 17th century court dress, all the layers and the ruffles and the extravagance of it all, so with this first one here we wanted it to be a front cocktail dress and have it all layered and poofy in the back with the blunt chest line,” said Kothe, a junior. “With the one in the back, it was more inspired, they call it the ‘pop renaissance’ because that it’s something you’d imagine Lady Gaga or Katy Perry wearing on stage, with the bullet bra and the big shoulders and just the extravagance of it all. And then our last one is probably the most, you could say, inspired by the story because of the hump in the back and the hip padding and all the layers and then the blunt bust and the shoulder cape.
Litzy Lopez, Izzy Mora and Alaysia Cullum updated a mermaid bottom with a shorter hemline. (Katie Chicklinski-Cahill/Durango Herald)
Bonnell said students are always thrilled to start a semester with a fun project instead of spending time reviewing class schedule and procedures. This project had the additional advantage of allowing them to try out a medium other than fabric.
The biggest challenge was creasing the newspapers and creating seams, she said.
Two of the students who have taken the pleated paper to an art form are junior Anna Finneseth and senior Kiya Hofmann. Their floor-length robe and shorter garment feature elaborate fans.
“Early on in the assignment, she asked us to do a Lady Gaga-inspired dress and a more casual dress – this was originally going to be our Lady Gaga dress, but then we had this idea, and it seemed just a lot more outgoing and the fans would be something Lady Gaga would wear,” Hofmann said, adding that the dress took about three days to make while the shorter dress took just over a day.
Sophia Kothe, Maggie Williams and Arianna Rohlf drew inspiration from the story for their three pieces, including this outfit. (Katie Chicklinski-Cahill/Durango Herald)
Finneseth said being tasked with working with newspaper as the backing instead of fabric added creative challenge to the assignment.
“I think it makes us really creative, like how we’re going to do things. Considering the material we had to work with, it was like, ‘OK, how are we going to get creative with what we can do?’ “, she said. “Because he’s not leaning over a body as usual, you have to think about the different shapes around him.
What about portability? Would it be possible to take one of these designs and wear it for a night on the town?
Koshevoy: “You could try…”
Orndorff: “But you would need a lot more tape.”
Student creations are currently on display in the DHS common area (in front of the auditorium).