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Designing for DisArt

Posted May 26, 2015 in Classes & PresentationsFashion Studies

In this guest blog, Fashion Studies Program Chair Lori Faulkner takes us behind the scenes of the DisArt Fashion Event.

When my students come to KCAD expecting to discover a career in fashion, they have no idea of the impact they can have by being creative through fashion and functional design. Case in point: the recent DisArt Festival Fashion Event, which came together with the help of two Fashion Studies courses - KCFS 322 Garments for Action and Function and KCFS 422 Fashion Show Production – that were offered for the first time this past spring.

The DisArt Fashion Event featured work from Fashion Has Heart and Open Style Lab, as well as the results of KCAD’s collaboration with Spectrum Health, wherein students in the Garments for Action and Function class designed garments for children with neuro-muscular diseases who are patients at Spectrum. The festivities started in the morning with a discussion panel, where the students were given the chance to present the design solutions they created in class for the child they were paired with.

Chris Smit, DisArt Festival DirectorDisArt Festival Director Chris Smit opens the morning fashion discussion panel

Each student designer planned a time to meet with their child and his/her parents to take measurements and talk about specific needs for the design. Students then created patterns for the garments, and fit them before making final garments. Hoag’s client was a 3-month old named Abigail who needed compression in her stomach muscles.

Fashion Studies student designs for Spectrum Health(above): Dani Hoag's design in progress on the work table in the Fashion Studies lab; (below): a display of finished student work from the Garments for Action and Function class

Fashion Studies student designs for Spectrum Health

“Beingable to work one on one with the kids from Spectrum Health was an eye opening experience,” said Fashion Studies senior Dani Hoag. “I learned a lot about Abigail by talking with her parents and her physical therapist, Robin.”

Dani designed a garment that wraps around Abigail’s torso and shoulders so that it can compress particular muscles. “It was an amazing experience to meet our customer and help them using the skills we have acquired at KCAD,” she said. “I hope to continue these kinds of projects in and outside of school.”

Fashion Studies student Dani HoagDani Hoag and Abigail at the DisArt Fashion Event

The Fashion Show Production class brought together their knowledge of fashion shows and integrated the show’s theme with models, staging, lighting, and accommodations for all attendees. The class created the show script and produced an informative video to play before the children showed off their specialized garments on the runway. Much attention was put into providing a safe and fun atmosphere for the families of the children who participated in this special event.

The crowd was standing room only for the evening runway show that left only a few dry eyes in the room. Seeing the children walking down the runway in garments made just for them was an emotional experience.

Spectrum Health patient (above and below): Spectrum Health patients showing off the garments deisgned for them by KCAD students at the DisArt Fashion Event

Spectrum Health patient at DisArt Fashion Show

“Through these collaborations during the DisArt Festival, we celebrated getting to know each other through a number of new and different ways and by acknowledging our own disabilities that affect us every day,” said Dani.

As for myself, I was thrilled by the community support of the event and very happy for the students to be able to participate in such a challenging and wonderful experience.
 

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