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Eco-friendly students’ passion for fashion

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Winning looks: the Spiders From Mars team took the top spot for their David Bowie-inspired collection (Photograph supplied)

High fashion came to Bermuda High School’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on April 15 and the display of creativity and talent on show was phenomenal.

IB1 students took on ecoRunway as their CAS project, a requirement to earn the International Baccalaureate diploma — and their hard work and dedication ensured the evening was both fun and successful.

Inspired by Project Runway, the premise of the show was the same as in previous years: teams were tasked with designing two outfits made of at least 50 per cent recycled materials, with one being ready-to-wear and the other avant-garde. Those were the only rules.

The designers were judged on the originality, wearability and creative use of materials for their outfits.

The materials used included an old umbrella, a tablecloth, caution tape, Christmas lights, brown paper bags, newspaper, tissue paper, CDs, a keyboard, Lindo’s shopping bags, soda cans, a phone book, plastic water bottles, toilet paper and kitchen paper rolls, a plastic tarpaulin, popcorn bags and tinfoil.

“All the types of glue” were used, according to Zoe O’Connor, who was part of Team Dreamscapes. Glue guns, tape and wire helped to hold the creations together.

Eight teams took part and every one spoke about the challenges they faced, which meant that this was not only a fun activity but one that also tested team work, resilience, patience, ingenuity, engineering skills and creativity.

Most of the teams spent more than 40 hours working on the project, with one team estimating they had spent 75 hours!

Dogs ate skirts, water bottles wouldn’t stick, things ripped, and through these challenges, the participants realised that the amount of work that goes into a production like this. This year they were in charge of it all, from designing the clothes to marketing the event, ticket sales, press and the set-up on the night.

BHS strives to be a sustainable school and ecoRunway is a perfect opportunity to raise awareness about environmental issues. Recently, all the light bulbs in the school were replaced, resulting in savings of more than $200,000.

EcoRunway brings all the elements of sustainability and Steam (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) together and is a chance for the students to expand their education beyond the confines of the classroom. Alumni and other community members were invited to get involved by acting as mentors and judges for the competition.

This year, the four judges were Rebecca Hanson, the founder of Tabs Bermuda; Sonia Pereira, jewellery designer; Danilee Trott, executive director of the Bermuda Fashion Show Festival; and Margaret Dunne, the winning designer from ecoRunway 2015.

At the end of the night, the judges had a very difficult decision to make. After a lengthy discussion, they congratulated all of those who took part and bestowed an honourable mention to team Concrete Jungle for their well-made designs.

Third place went to Dreamscapes for their creative outfits; the wings on the Tinker Bell-inspired outfit sealed the deal for one judge!

Second place went to Bond for their use of material and detail and the winner of the coveted ‘Stiletto Trophy’ (created using the school’s 3-D printer) was Spiders from Mars, made up of Lea Balestrieri, Macy Sidders, Sophia Marsh and Sasha Hosier.

The creative team was inspired by the late David Bowie and with an incredible variety of materials used and flawless execution, these girls were well deserving of the win.

Catwalk queens: the Bond team took second place for their use of material and detail (Photograph supplied)
Creative thinking: the Dreamscapes team impressed the judges with a Tinker Bell-inspired look (Photograph supplied)
Honourable mention: the Concrete Jungle team were praised for their well-made designs (Photograph supplied)