Making it work: Turning shopping bags into clothes

Making it work: Turning shopping bags into clothes
Model Gao Ying from Mannequin posing for a cover shoot for Urban Fashion Steps Out 2014 supplement at Orchard Road on 27 March 2014. She is wearing an outfit created by Raffles Design Institute lecturers Jay Quek and Madeleine Wong with the use of 10 Paragon shopping bags.

SINGAPORE - In the hit American TV show Project Runway, aspiring designers scramble to complete madcap fashion challenges in a stressfully short time frame. And the more memorable episodes almost always involve the use of unconventional materials, such as things found in a grocery store.

Fashion design students at Singapore's Raffles Design Institute (RDI) will get to tackle a similar project this year called Fashion Re-imagined, a Fashion Steps Out 2014 event.

They have been tasked to create 14 outfits from shopping bags from Paragon as well as six of its retailers - Adolfo Dominguez, G-Star Raw, Anteprima, Guess, Karen Millen and Pois. Their creations will be unveiled on May 5 and exhibited for two weeks at the mall.

Says Mr Jay Quek, one of the RDI lecturers in the fashion design department leading the project: "The different material and the different retailers involved will really encourage the students to think outside of the box, in terms of construction, innovation and finishing."

About 30 final-year students, who will be working in pairs, are now preparing design proposals during their school break.

Challenges they will face during the project include staying true to the brand's essence when designing the outfit, as well as making sure they consider commercial wearability while incorporating avant-garde creativity, says Mr Quek.

"After all, it's a fine line between costume and fashion design."

Adds Ms Madeleine Wong, another lecturer leading the project: "The students seem excited, but maybe a little worried as well. We'll step in to be sounding boards and we know a large part of the project may be trial and error to see what works."

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