Tuesday 15 March 2011

Dress to Impress

It's Friday night, and I've popped out of my wife's birthday party for twenty minutes and come back with a well dressed mannequin under my arm.  I knew I would get all clever comments, 'found a younger model?'...so on, but couldn't risk leaving her in the pub car park where we leave our car.

Arthur and Jago also want to pose with the dress
The dress is made entirely from reused and recycled materials, mostly plastic bags, and is one of several stunning outfits made by students from Selly Park Technology College for Girls.  It is clearly labelled promoting our fashion show in June - Nikki's fortieth party was an impromptu venue, one of many to come, where the outfit has and will be admired.

I had just picked it up from the University of Birmingham Fair Fashion Show, the last event in a series they have run throughout fairtrade fortnight.  A group from Selly Park Technology College  had taken a backstage tour and interviewed the organisers and models earlier that day, including the maker of the dress.  While we were there, a couple of people visiting the universit show posed with the mannequin and took photos - excellent that among all the dresses and outfits of the university students, our dress had been spotted, and the maker was there to see it!

The dress will next be appearing in the shop window of the People shop on Poplar road, then at several events to celebrate 100 years of the school, and be worn as part of the Fashion Show the college is arranging later this year.  Allison Sadler owns the shop with her partner, Christian, and is working with students at Selly Park to run their own fashion show.

Early draft of fashion show logo
Earlier in the week I accompanied Jude Thomas from CCE (who funds our funders, Creative Partnerships) to visit Selly Park and to talk to some of the staff and students there.  Another mannequin is, of course, waiting in the reception to greet visitors.  We have a conversation with several confident young people, each able to describe the project clearly, its aims, and demonstrate how much the young people are making decisions on our show in collaboration with teaching staff and creative practitioners (as well as making the dresses and hats).

The dress demonstrates the skills and creativity of the young people involved, and the teaching staff and creative practitioner working with them.  More than that, where the mannequins visit are a physical presence, in school and elsewhere, valuing our young people, their work and values (the students have chosen to explore recycling and sustainability in their outfits) both in and outside the school.  Look out for a mannequin near you.

1 comment:

  1. It was a really good visit to Selly Park School last week!

    The impact of the fashion show upon the pupils we spoke to was really evident. Their enjoyment of the work was high. They gave us enthusiastic and positive responses to our questions. The activities they are doing and had have done are obviously memorable and they spoke highly of the benefits of planning an event and how this was helping them learn transferable skills (organising the models, sorting out the publicity, choosing a venue and having to put forward their case to the Head Teacher).

    It was good to hear about how the school had made some very positive connections with local businesses. I hope that you are able to keep these links going beyond the timescale of the project. They are obviously gaining a huge amount from what they are learning with Allison.

    As part of its ongoing work, beyond Creative Partnerships: I hope the school will continue to involve the young people further in leading activity and continue to work with Creative Practitioners.

    I look forward to hearing how the fashion show work turns out.
    Good luck Selly Park!
    Thank you for my visit
    Jude Thomas

    Jude Thomas
    Schools Programme Manager
    Creativity, Culture and Education