YALSA Excellence in Programming Award Part II: Teen Fashion Week at ImaginOn

A few months ago, I wrote about one of the YALSA Excellence in Programming Award recipients, Teen Fashion Apprentice at ImaginOn. ‘ This’ July, we hosted an entire week worth of fashion workshops — Fashion Week at ImaginOn — ‘ in preparation’ for a fashion show.

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The teens had explicit instructions for the creation of their fashion masterpieces:’  they must adhere to the theme, “Fashionably Ever After,” and their creations had to be made from 100%’ recycled materials. ‘ Both the literary or fairy tale theme and the challenges of working with unconventional materials lent itself to the creation of an extensive resource guide.’ 

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We set up strategic book displays all summer to provide the teens with additional information and inspiration.’ Titles like’ Being a Fashion Stylist by Isabel Thomas, Creating a Successful Fashion Collection: Everything You Need to Develop a Great Line and Portfolio by Steven Faerm, Fashion Design Drawing Course: Principles, Practices, and Techniques: The New Guide for Aspiring Fashion Artists—Now With Digital Art Techniques by Caroline Tatham and Julian Seaman, Hi-Tech Clothes by Richard Spilsbury, and A Teen Guide to Eco-Fashion by Liz Gogerly worked well with our classes on fashion design, the fashion industry, and fashion forecasting and also gave teens tips and background information on designing a product, and working with eco-friendly or recycled materials.

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During Teen Fashion Week, my branch also had the opportunity to host a fashion-themed Teen Summer Reading program:’  an upcycled t-shirt competition.’  This allowed the teens to try out different techniques on a forgiving medium: cotton t-shirt fabric. It’s an easy program to host at your library, and the teens loved it!’  We asked every teen to bring an old t-shirt, and we provided fabric paint markers, stencils, sharp scissors, needle, and thread.’  I made sure we had a couple of copies of books such as Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt by Megan Nicolay on hand for inspiration.’  Most of the participants in this program were also participants in Fashion Week and the fashion show; I made it easy for an interested teen to attend both programs that day by offering the two nearly back-to-back and offering light refreshments to those who were staying through both programs.

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Then came the day of ImaginOn’s Teen Fashion Show… teens are so creative, and they continue to “wow” me with their work.’  All of the entries were inventive in their use of unusual, recycled materials and their attention to detail.’  Three contestants created floor-length gowns evocative of the White Witch from the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name… from plastic bags!

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