Gorgeous elegance using materials recycled from trash

2010-10-20 00:00

THEY look fit for the runway — perfectly sculpted ball gowns with a dramatic flair.

But closer inspection of the creations by grade 10 and 11 pupils at Russell High School show the gowns to be more than mere fashion statements, they’re environmentally friendly too. Each of the garments is made from material found in the rubbish bin.

Alana Leigh, the school’s Visual Arts teacher, tasked her classes with creating ensembles with recycled material.

“You don’t want to see my classroom now,” she said laughing. “For three weeks I’ve literally taught in a trash pile!”

Leigh said she is proud of how her girls rose to the challenge. “From plastic bags to tea bags, they thought of creative ways to make their outfits. I provided them with glue and brass fasteners and they sourced the rest of the material,” she said.

Nonjabulo Sithole’s creation was inspired by the disco era. She carefully drilled holes into old CDs and, like buttons, sewed them on to a basic shift dress.

“It’s different and fun, and I love the look I created,” she said. She added her dress is something she imagines Lady Gaga would wear.

Sindi Duma and Sphume Dladla covered every surface in the school’s art room with old tea bags. They collected the bags, which usually get tossed, and dried them out to create their earthy outfit. The finished product was a drop-waist tea bag dress with paper cup embellishments on the skirt.

Perhaps the most intricate of the outfits was Noncedo Suduka’s. Made entirely of plastic bags, she carefully plaited strips of plastic before hand stitching the plaits together.

A colourful bodice is joined to a black (bin bag) skirt that flares into a colourful train at the back.

“It was amazing to make something of nothing,” Suduka said.

“And plastic like this usually ends up in the rubbish bin so I made something with a feeling of elegance and fun from junk,” she added.

Leigh said the girls exceeded everyone’s expectations by creating their works of art.

“I told them to just let their imaginations free, and they did just that,” she said.



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