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A word from Threads Carol Fresia on this year's Transformation Challenge

03/19/2019 2:00 PM | Cisa Kubley (Administrator)

THE TAUNTON PRESS

Threads Magazine

Threads/ASDP Challenge 2019

The Transformation Challenge

Among the most popular exhibits at the Milwaukee Public Museum is the Puelicher Butterfly Wing, an indoor tropical garden, home to hundreds of living butterflies. A visit to this space is magical. Seeing these creatures at all stages of development, from caterpillar to chrysalis to full-fledged butterfly, reminds us that change is a constant in life.

Change can be positive or negative, exhilarating or frightening. For this challenge, Threads asks the members of the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals to show us that change can be good. We challenge you to design a garment or ensemble that includes an element of transformation.

Your garment/ensemble must be able to be changed on the runway from one look to a distinctly different second look. You may incorporate removable pieces, but each piece that comes off must be integrated in some way into the alternate look. Consider reversible sewing techniques, changeable silhouettes, layered fabrics, or anything else that transforms the garment. We’ll judge the entries on excellence of construction and design, with a special focus on how successfully the ensemble changes from one look to another. 

In your artist’s statement, describe in detail how your entry changes, and include photos of both views. Explain your inspiration, and let us know how your design process encouraged you to embrace change.

Dear ASDP Members,

I hope you’ve been thinking about this year’s challenge, and I’d like to encourage you to submit an entry (or two!). For the entire Threads staff, seeing your creative solutions to our challenge is an annual highlight. When we come up with a theme each year, we truly never have any idea what might come of it, and it’s always a wonderful surprise to discover how you solve the problem we pose.

This year’s challenge takes a slightly different form from the usual, because we ask you to design an ensemble or garment that can change. You can effect this transformation in any way you like as long as it can occur on the runway. Therefore, you’ll want to avoid anything that involves completely undressing. We suggest you keep the transformation process from being too complicated, as that will hold up the show and present your work in an awkward light. It’s probably a good idea to avoid things like stepping into/out of skinny pants, for example, or unfastening (or fastening) a long row of tiny buttons.

Please remember that, if a piece is removed from the first look, it must still be incorporated into the second look—no tossing a cape off the side of the runway to reveal a gown!

Coincidentally, as I started writing this letter, Project Runway All Stars presented a challenge that called for transforming garments (look online for All Stars Season 7, Episode 10, “Climate Quick Change”). Although it’s worth checking out what those designers came up with, I think you’ll quickly see that some did a better job than others of fulfilling the challenge. For example, Dmitry Sholokhov’s coat-over-dress look was less a transformation than simply two pieces. As I watched this episode, I was interested to see how some of the designers approached the brief. You may get some general ideas from them about what works and what doesn’t.

There are, of course, many ways to transform a look. You may try making reversible garments, or draw in or let out areas to adjust the silhouette. Can one piece turn into another?—an obvious example would be a skirt/cape combination, but there might be ways for pants to become a skirt. Sometimes adding a sheer layer creates a completely different look, in terms of color and shape. Consider notions such as zippers, hook-and-loop tape (aka Velcro), snap tape, or magnetic closures to attach or release garment sections quickly and easily.  

It’s a matter of balancing ease of transformation with overall effect. I know you’ll come up with be some clever solutions that deliver interesting changes without too much fuss and flurry on the runway.

Please note that we didn’t include any restrictions on what sort of garments this should be, so you’re welcome to design anything, from active-wear to evening-wear to a fabulous fantasy costume.

We know that participating in the challenge is a significant investment in time and money. We don’t want you to think you must use rare and expensive materials, and we urge you to decide what budget works for you. Also, while some designers create pieces in model sizes, that is never a requirement for this challenge. (When we do our first round of judging, we don’t even know what size the entries are.) So if you are putting time into designing and constructing something amazing that you love, feel free to make it to fit yourself! If, on the other hand, you’d like to go wild and try something you’d never wear in your real life, that’s fine, too. Our hope is that you’ll learn some new aspects of design and sewing along the way, and possibly end up with a new outfit you can proudly wear.

I’ll be working on my “Mary Poppins/Mrs. Incredible” outfit till October. (I’m only joking, but now I’m wondering if that would even be possible!)

Best regards,

Carol Fresia

ThreadsSenior Technical Editor


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