Recycled Runway 2020

Tiffany Davis, 10th Grade

Artist's Statement

My name is Tiffany Davis and I empower young women. Young women’s empowerment is definitely a way to use my voice to change the social demands for women. It feels as if sometimes people belittled our beings but I know that we are not powerless but powerful! As a group, we have to change the viewpoints and show that you do not have to look a certain way to be worthy and admirable. I search for equality by holding people accountable while redefining gender roles. This empowerment is for all women to feel strengthened by other women, changed to change, and inspired to inspire. You have to firstly love yourself because you are a perfect strong leader and was born to shine bright! SO what are you waiting on?! My name is Tiffany Davis and I am a young woman empowerer.

Guthrie 'Goo' Holmes, 6th Grade

Artist's Statement

My name is Guthrie Holmes and my outfit is about gender neutrality and not being particularly masculine or feminine. The inspiration for it was a newspaper type of color-scheme with black and white, and comfort, like comfy clothes and being comfortable in your own skin. Gender identity and the expression of that is something I’ve always struggled with so the bending of gender and challenging people’s perception of gender is what inspired me to create this outfit.

Zaida Noles-Ross, 9th Grade

Artist's Statement

My message is that the homeless aren’t dangerous rejects from society like the media would lead you to believe, but rather simply struggling people in need of assistance. Every human being deserves safety, necessities, and dignity. In this ensemble, manipulated and sewn cardboard is the main media. Cardboard is one of the most common materials associated with homelessness. This ever present and often discarded packing material is commonly used for insulation and improvised shelter. Through the utilization of cardboard, my “look” aims to actively address the value of homeless people’s lives. Homeless people face many challenges in an environment that is often designed to be hostile towards them. Because of harmful stereotypes, homeless people often do not get the help they need, but rather are avoided due to irrational fears. The availability of cardboard makes it a great media to convey a message not only for the homeless, but also to incorporate into this outfit. I prepared, folded and sewed different textures and thicknesses of cardboard to create the skirts, top and accessories like the Covid-19 mask, shoes and book bag. I also designed and sewed the shirt using repurposed fabric and a modified vintage pattern that once belonged to my grandmother. I modeled my own design.

Claudia Williams, 8th Grade

Artist's Statement

I created this dress to confront the unacceptable treatment, conditions, and wages of garment factory workers. The dress is made to have two halves; a split personality: the front is the shiny façade of the clothing industry, what the average consumer sees, while the back reveals the more sinister inner workings. Workers have abysmal wages and are sometimes in buildings that areunstableordifficult to escapein the case of an emergency. And this issue is not exclusive to other countries – factories like this exist in America, too. Take, for example,theseLos Angeles factories, in one of which workers are payed a mere 51 cents for each tank top they sew.

Everyone deserves to have a job where they can earn a living wage and not unnecessarily risk their safety. It is sickening to know that the main reason the fashion industry does not consistently provide this is because we as consumers treat our clothes as disposable items. That is why I chose to dedicate my Recycled Runway outfit to this subject.

In my research of garment factories, certain images stuck out to me and became inspiration for elements of the outfit. The strips of tattered fabric on the back skirt were made to resemble the huge bales formed of clothes that are discarded and given to thrift stores and charities but ultimately end up unused because of the massive quantity of garments that are thrown out in America and other first-world countries. Even though many of these items are perfectly wearable or could easily be mended, it is of such little consequence to give them away and just say “I’ll buy a new one” that they end up rejected anyway.

The black net veil on the mask hides the face, symbolic of the unnamed, faceless garment workers who bear the cost of consumerism in the fashion industry and the demand for cheap, disposable clothes. It also resembles the veils sometimes worn during mourning, a sign of remembrance for the thousands of workers who have died in accidents because the factories are too often poorly built and unsafe.

Lastly, I included the convicting words, “Who pays the price?” - a question posed to the viewer asking them to consider the result of consumer demand for quantity rather than quality, and more personally to consider their own choices regarding clothing. How could a simple change in the way we view clothes have a positive impact on the lives of thousands of people?

Jaylynn Wilson, 9th Grade

Artist's Statement

My inspiration comes from the attire of the Black Panther Party. Just as they were protesting for equal rights, black people in America are still fighting against discrimination today. I have been raised in an environment where I can voice my feelings. I wanted to use this project as an opportunity to continue to shed light on police brutality, systematic racism, and racial inequality. Even though the movement may no longer be trending on news feeds, and people may no longer be heavily protesting, Black Lives Still Matter.

Jenna Vandiver, 10th Grade

Artist's Statement

I wanted to create a strong piece based on something that everyone can agree on. Our country was founded on the idea of justice and liberty for all, does that mean it actually was? No, but shouldn’t we strive to have that. We need to look past skin color and just see each other as brothers and sisters in equality. That doesn’t mean race doesn’t matter, because it does. But it needs to be addressed as a beautiful thing, not a play of power or superiority. I also chose to do the look in denim because it’s a very strong fabric and can withstand a lot, which is sadly fitting for our civil rights movements.

With recent events especially, I wanted to shine a light in this beautiful, peaceful movement. As the media loves to portray the negative, the harmful and looters, it is left to the people to show the actual cause we stand for. And what better place to do this than in Birmingham, a city rich in civil rights history. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter so much the identity of the wearer, but the purpose and meaning the wearer is spreading.