Up-cycled boutique chic proves a catwalk hit


Outfits that previously failed to find a loving home at an upmarket city centre charity store are hitting the catwalk after getting a complete revamp from talented Art and Design learners.

For the fourth year running, aspiring designers from Coleg y Cymoedd used their new-found skills to turn the clothes from the Oxfam Boutique Cardiff into a range of original ensembles, this year with an oriental theme.

Following the success of last year’s event, the eye-catching handiwork went on display during a fund-raising fashion show held at the college’s Nantgarw campus. The event was, once again, a joint enterprise between learners right across the college. Volunteers from the hairdressing and production arts make-up departments prepared the models for the catwalk, music technology learners provided the soundtrack, hospitality was provided by catering students and the whole event was captured on film by digital media learners.

The garments and collection of accessories created by the learners was 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.

The project’s aim was to encourage learners to consider the ethical issues associated with the fashion industry. Moreover, the exhibition gave the learners ‘real world’ experience in the promotion, organisation and management of a large scale event.

Rhonwen Powell, 18 from Tonyrefail, an art and design student at Coleg y Cymoedd, said “I was so glad to be part of this project. It has been a great learning experience, and it’s really exciting to think that our work will be on display and up for sale again to the public.

“Upcycling unwanted clothes is a really worthwhile project, especially when the proceeds will go to charity.”

Following their catwalk debut, the upcycled creations will return to the high profile Oxfam Boutique on St Mary’s Street, Cardiff to be sold in store, with all proceeds going to Oxfam.

Claire Samuel, manager of Oxfam Boutique Cardiff has said, “This is a fantastic collaboration, and a great opportunity to inform a younger generation of the great work being done by Oxfam nationally and worldwide. The work the learners created is excellent.

“It has made for a fantastic visual display in the Oxfam Boutique and engages the public with Oxfam's mission to lift people from poverty. Many thanks to all the departments in Coleg y Cymoedd who made this possible.”

Alistair Aston, tutor at Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “Working with Oxfam Boutique has been a really positive experience for our learners, enabling them the opportunity to gain an understanding of the vital issues that Oxfam support.

“They have worked with a real energy and enthusiasm, creating Japanese inspired garments, graphics and jewellery that will be exhibited during a catwalk show and retailed at Oxfam Boutique Cardiff. Working across disciplines and departments on a live brief has provided a real showcase for the talent that is being developed within Coleg y Cymoedd.”

Up-cycled boutique chic proves a catwalk hit



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