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Designing for good: Illinois Art+Design’s Re-fashioned Fashion Show takes reuse to new heights

Temple Hoyne Buell Hall, with its windows and modern, airy mezzanines, was the perfect stage for Saturday’s unveiling of the 12th annual Re-fashioned Fashion Show. The brain-child of Illinois Fine+Applied Arts assistant professor Susan Becker, Re-fashioned showcased the reuse/eco-conscious designs of Becker’s Art 299 Fashion students. (Find out more about Becker’s inspo and vision here).

The level of imagination, creativity, and skill was stunning. The diversity of bodies modeling the designs was inclusive. The garments themselves ranged from whimsical to wearable, and from quietly chic to full-on fantasy. Styles ranged from sweet, to edgy, to seductive; and in many cases expressed a welcome freedom from gender-normative dressing. 

The power of the labrynth-like runway allowed the show to start with typical runway flair, and then move out into the extensive rows of seating where it could be experienced up close by members of the audience. Of particular note were the dual designs, which allowed for spirited interplay between the models, while offering a slightly broader sense of the designer’s vision and voice.  

Project Runway better watch out.  These young designers are smart, witty, eco-conscious and forward-thinking. They also know how to work a runway reveal. Not only did they design artful garments, they designed creative solutions that minimize waste, maximize innovation, and rip the seams out of fashion gender norms.  

See for yourself. 

[gallery refashioned2019]

Below are the actual project descriptions for Becker’s course.  I encourage you to take a moment to read them, as they provide important details about materials, process, and suggested thematic visions. These designs are not just objects, they are commentaries and explorations of the world these young designers are coming up in. 
Found Object Fashion
Each student was required to make a wearable work of art out of an unusual repurposed material, found, not purchased (or from the I.D.E.A. Store). Students were encouraged to use the properties of the chosen material and one of the top 20 films that have influenced fashion as primary inspiration. 
Students worked in pairs using donated garments as raw material, to create a mini-collection of one-of-a-kind ensembles. Students were inspired by an exploration of the “zietgeist.” Global warming, political polarity pollution, Feminism, Robotics, and individualism as a marketing trend were some of the themes explored. 
Nature Project
Pairs of students worked to make a garment out of recycled billboard material and repurposed vinyl wallpaper from the I.D.E.A. Store. They were instucted to use as inspiration an aspect of the natural world and a researched cutting-edge trend. 
T-Shirt Re-invent
Pairs of students were given an extra-large t-shirt as the starting point for a unique creation. They were instructed to use as inspiration dualities such as past and future, freedom and restriction, and classic and avant garde. Additional inspiration was supplied by collaborating with Kirstie Simpson’s Colab Dance class.
And now for the finale.  Bravo!

Re-fashioned Fashion Show
Saturday, May 4th, 2019
Temple Hoyne Buell Hall
611 E Lorado Taft Dr, Champaign
Check out additional photos and videos from Re-fashioned Art 299 Fashion students 

Photos and video by Debra Domal 


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