Earlier this year we had lots of fun teaching students how to make AirCasting compatible air monitors and luminescent accessories. For details on these educational programs, along with some really great videos, read on.
Front row (left to right): Denise Rodriguez, Jellah De Guzman, Joy Suarez, Chelsea Diokno, Lobsang Tsomo, Patricia Ligon, Erika Apupalo, Anna Marie Wong, and Anabel Batista Back row (left to right): Melanie Arias, Natalia Rios, and Stephen Dunford
Duct tape, bubble wrap, card board, paper, and even lamp shades…these everyday materials aren’t often used in the fashion industry, but teens in the Long Island City YMCA DEFYNE Fashion Program rose to the creative challenge and designed over 20 garments by reusing and repurposing materials from our warehouse. The LIC YMCA partnered with Materials for the Arts for a 9-month program where students used their imagination to define fashion by constructing unique clothing and accessories from a mix of found objects. They also learned about sustainable design and creative reuse.
The student artists celebrated their hard work and achievements by producing a Reuse Fashion Show at MFTA. The program empowers youth by taking them through the entire design process from conception to execution, and the young designers confidently model their creations at the end-of-year fashion show.
The students began their design residency in October. For two Fridays every month, they worked with teaching artist Joy Suarez to explore new design techniques and learn skills in weaving, stenciling, print-making, silk screening, and shibori. They also visited museums and the Fashion Center BID. Walking around Madison Avenue helped to inspire them as they saw scores of store fronts where New York’s dynamic fashion industry is front and center.
Joy taught the students how to repurpose objects like vinyl records and lamp shades into fashion statements.
Earlier in the school year, I signed up for an after-school program at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum called Hive Fashion, which has allowed all of my talents and interests to mesh together and the result was creating a professional product. My experience was inspiring, innovative and epic. Throughout the 24 after-school sessions, I experienced the strength of teamwork and the power of an idea. Amongst my fellow team members I felt propelled to work and develop my creativity. I feel ready to use all that I’ve learned to pursue my goal of becoming a world renowned designer. My involvement in this program has made my career choice very vivid and realistic, enabling me to shoot for the moon.
I got to learn all the professional techniques of the fashion industry. Working with Christopher Bevans along with the entire team at Christopher Bevans Atelier (CBA) has trained me to act, work, and solve problems like a professional. The most encouraging thing about working with the CBA group is that they are always willing to help. They explain every step of the process and encourage you to perform at your best. I learned Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, fabric analysis, and how to construct garment tech packs (just to name a few skills). But the most important thing I learned is to always have a passion for whatever I pursue in life.
The inspiration behind our brand, SYD, is simple and efficient. We loved the idea of clothing being comfortable, stylish and functional. With these ideas emerged our name SYD (Simple, Youthful, Durable) using these keywords we were able to build an ideal brand that is versatile and eclectic. We believe that simplicity is the base of creativity. My team and I were responsible for designing a sweatshirt and pants, and later incorporated a hand-sewn purse. I was re-introduced to sewing as well as pattern making skills. After cutting and sewing pieces of our pants I felt my skills develop and I was more excited to tackle the sewing machine. My computer skills developed as well, now I feel confident using the programs to work on my designs. I am proud of my progress in the program, but specifically I am proud of all that I have learned. I feel unstoppable in my near future because I’ve acquired tools that I will reference throughout my life.
Through this experience, I learned that I am most happy with the development process of a brand and I now plan to attend college for production management. Prior to getting involved with Hive Fashion, I was not interested in higher education, but it changed my perception of wanting to learn new things and be proud of it. The designers and mentors provided a great deal of support and guidance. They not only taught me a lot of things, but shaped a part of my personality. They’ve showed me the power of a creative mind and made me think twice about the importance of design.