Stop the presses! Thomas Stone High School fashion design students take recycling to new levels

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Stop the presses! Thomas Stone High School fashion design students take recycling to new levels

There’s fast fashion, and there’s yesterday’s news. Students in Thomas Stone High School’s fashion design class embraced both with an assignment to create a garment and accessories using newspaper, ribbon, teamwork, and ingenuity.

Hollis Hay, who is a Thomas Stone teacher of fashion design, financial literacy and architecture and interior designing, said that the assignment serves as an icebreaker and team builder at school’s beginning. “I start with newspaper dresses because sometimes you have to think outside the box,”Hay spoke of encouraging students to work together creatively. “What a fun way to get to know the kids in your class and build relationships,”Principal Shanif Pearl said.

A fashion show recently took place in the locker-lined hallway outside of Hay’s classroom, the models walking a red carpet by judges — the judges at the morning show were Pearl, Assistant Principal Jasmine Bateman, Assistant Principal Curry Werkheiser, and resource teacher Melissa Veneracion. The design were scored on a scale from one to five. They were judged on originality, craftmanship, newspaper accessory use, overall appearance, and originality. Each of the two fashion design classes took part in a runway presentation. On Monday, each class’s show resulted in a tie between two teams.

Make it work

Hay demonstrates how to fold, lattice, pleat and make rosettes, fringe and other embellishments from a newspaper before groups begin to work. Students then worked in groups of four to five to create a garment or accessories using material with sports scores, comic strips, and bylines.  

Fashion design is a fine arts credit that teaches students the principles and elements behind fashion and the history of fashion. Hay, a Family & Consumer Science major who studied textile and jewelry design at college, taught art and worked with students in an in-home and hospital program before he joined Charles County Public Schools.

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She said that she seeks assignments that challenge students to apply design principles and to work with the material to make a garment. It’s just not a material that most would think to use. “This is why dresses are not made from newspaper,”Cole Bergling, a sophomore said.

“We did find it very challenging,” Bergling’s teammate, Adali Hernandez, a freshman. “But once we started to put things in place, we just did layers on layers until it came together.”

Another lesson learned was a dress wasn’t going to come together overnight. “Patience. I learned patience,”Kennady Hawkins, sophomore, said.

Fashion forecast

Hawkins stated that she signed up to fashion design in order to try something new. “I want to explore different options, and it seemed interesting,”She said. Hawkins designed a dress for Caitlyn Bromfield (a senior) to wear to the show.   

Hay would like to start each quarter with some sort of challenge to stoke students’ creativity and get the wheels turning for future projects. Based on the enthusiasm shown at the fashion shows, the students seem to be all for it. “It’s a reminder that the students’ enthusiasm makes us all want to be teachers,”Hay said.

Upcoming lessons include designing with plastic bags, magazines, and unconventional materials — think dry pasta or fake flowers. Students will delve into line drawing, embroidery, silk screening, bead weaving, and macramé.

After Monday’s fashion show, students are ready to dive deeper and challenge themselves. “I thought this wasn’t going to work,”Bromfield sat down and looked around at her dress, as well as other teams, as they made last-minute changes to their newspaper creations. “But it works.”


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