Coleg Y Cymoedd

Students exhibit their up-cycled boutique chic

21/12/2013
Coleg Y Cymoedd

Outfits that previously failed to find buyers at an upmarket city centre charity store are going on sale again after getting a complete revamp from talented Valleys art and design students.

The aspiring designers, who are all Extended Diploma students at Coleg y Cymoedd, used their new-found skills to turn the fabrics from the Oxfam Boutique Cardiff into a range of highly original ensembles.

And before heading back to the store in high profile St Mary Street, their eye-catching handiwork went on display during a special fund-raising fashion show held at the college’s Nantgarw campus.

The project’s aim was to get students to consider the sustainability and ethical issues associated with the fashion industry, while simultaneously providing them with direct experience of staging professional standard fashion events that will prove invaluable for future employment opportunities. 

The thirteen garments and the collection of accessories created by the students are entirely constructed from recycled materials such as paper and plastic, and fabric supplied by the Oxfam Boutique, which could not be sold by the shop. Working under a Japanese theme, the fashion and textile and 3D students’ work was heavily influenced by Japanese floral prints, architecture, art and design.

Cory Beth-Jones, 18, from Pontygwaith, was one of the students to exhibit her work at the event: “This is the first time I have ever created pieces for the catwalk, and it’s the first time my work will go on sale in a real Boutique. Up-cycling donated items into bespoke Japanese pieces presented interesting, technical and enjoyable challenges. Knowing that your work will be on display and then sold to the public changes the way you produce a garment.”

The event itself was an exciting experience, I was a little nervous, but it’s definitely helped me to realise just how much I want to continue my studies at university and start my fashion career.” 

Following their catwalk debut, the students’ creations will be sold at the Oxfam Boutique store on St Mary’s Street, Cardiff, with all proceeds going to Oxfam. The exhibition also allowed students’ to gain ‘real world’ experience in the organisation, promotion and management of a large scale event.

The fashion show was very much a joint enterprise between students right across the college. Alongside the fashion show there was an exhibition of Graphic Arts students work based on promoting the worldwide issues that Oxfam support and represent. Volunteers from the hair and beauty and Media make-up departments helped prepare the models for the catwalk, while catering students delivered professional standard refreshments, Music Technology students provided the soundtrack, and the lead up and event was captured for the record by photography and media students.

The event exhibited pieces from The Resist Gallery LLantrisant, which specialises in Japanese clothing and textiles. Michelle Griffiths , the owner and designer at Resist also provided the fashion and textile students with creative input and advice during the production of their own garments. Kaori Onoda, a volunteer from the Japanese Community in Cardiff also gave a presentation on traditional Japanese dress.  

Lisa Porch, lecturer at the Coleg y Cymoedd: “Each of the fashion and textile students has worked tirelessly to produce their garments and accessories. The objective of the project was to allow each student to gain real life experience working in the fashion industry. The combined recycling and Japanese theme has presented unique challenges, but the support from Oxfam and Resist Gallery has helped them to create garments that are both inspired by Japanese techniques and commercially appealing.”     

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