Saddleback College’s Eco-Fashion show was held at the 40th Annual Environmental Nature Center’s Fall Faire and Pumpkin Patch Oct. 19 at 1601 E. 16th Street, Newport Beach, Calif.
Figuring out what sort of material to use such as plastic, copper wire, paper plates or bubble wrap, has caught the attention of students involved in the fashion department at Saddleback College.
It’s all about creativity and thinking outside the box “So why not make a ball gown out of denim?” said Lindsay Fox, fashion instructor and department chair.
One of Fox’s students took her advice of thinking outside the box and was able to fabricate an award- winning, show-stopping piece.
“A beginning draping class inspired me to use different materials,” said Katherine Ginther, 48, fashion design. “The material I used was crocheted copper electrical wire on top of window screen.”
The time spent on it was painful and Ginther said she had “man hands” by the time she was through, but it was time well spent.
“It took a total of 40 hours to make and [it is] definitely an art piece because it won in the fantasy category at the spring show,” Ginther said.
In the future, Ginther wants to create an Oleg Cassini inspired 80s dress, sparkly and multi colored.
“I’m usually sewing for “The Nutcracker” during this time of the year, but I’m taking 18 units now,” Ginther said.
Ginther has been making costumes for the Fallbrook Nutcracker Ballet over the past 12 years. She is a mom of two and travels an hour to get to Saddleback from Fallbrook, California.
“I’m not the only student who drives far because it’s an exceptional program with the equipment and I’ve found that FIDM students have come here,” said Ginther. “I grew up in Seal Beach [California] and we would drink iced tea and knit while watching General Hospital. Now I’m making a dream of mine come true.”
Fox encourages her students to consider how textiles are made and what takes place in the process.
“A designer may have no idea who is producing a garment and the process passes along into different hands, [and is] made in the wrong way which usually happens overseas,” Fox said. “The dying of fabric, finishing work and how fibers are produced can affect water and air.”
Fox’s goal is to promote awareness of improper manufacturing that may lead to damaging the environment or that may bring harm to an impoverished individual outside the U.S.
“People are worried about feeding their children today, not how it damages the land or resources in the future,” Fox said.
Emily Stevenson, 30, advanced fashion design, has been at Saddleback for two years and was involved in the Saddleback “2014 Spring Fashion Show.” She prefers making corsets and plans to show more of her work in upcoming fashion shows like the one at ENC.
“I made a 1920s dress out of 1300 recycled paint chips inspired by samurai armor,” said Stevenson. “There are so many paint chips produced in this world and they end up getting thrown out so why not use them in an interesting way?”
The dress will be shown in the Newport Eco Show and is a permanent part of Saddleback’s collection. The dress, Stevenson said, was a labor of love, [it is] very heavy and now has a good home.
“It took 25 hours to complete the dress with [those] 1300 paint chips cut in thirds, rounding paper corners and then taking a row at a time sewing the chips together.”
Stevenson said Saddleback’s program is a very comprehensive program that thoroughly encompasses all aspects of fashion, from the person who sews at home to the more advanced career designer.
The Saddleback fashion department will also be taking extra fabrics and using die-cuts to create wrist bands for kids during the faire.
ENC’s vision strives to encourage all generations to protect the natural world by serving the community’s ecological responsibility and sustainable practices. They provide environmental education.
“The place was founded by a teacher from Newport Harbor High school as a place to camp out, roast marshmallows and tell stories and eventually it turned into a environmental center,” Fox said.
Recycled trash is considered a non-textile item and a garment made out of a non-textile has its challenges, but when well constructed, it is considered creatively wearable.