VMFA Teen Stylin’ 2014

 VMFA11 – Isabella Thomas backstage before the show and our “Best in Show” winner for the 6th-8th grades, Nov. 15 show / 2 – designer and her model backstage pre-show / 3 – another designer, Robin Owners – a senior and 3rd year Teen Stylin’ participant. 

A few weeks ago I was tasked with a very hard job: judging fashion creations by approximately 90 students from across Metro Richmond and Northern Virginia on their best use of materials & creative construction and interpretation of artwork in the VMFA Teen Stylin’ Program. My co-judges were Jenny, a current VMFA employee, yogi and snowboarding lover (we bonded over my new love of the outdoors/yoga) with a fashion degree from VCU and six years experience in product development and Owen, a Fashion Design & Merchandising graduate from VCU and fellow blogger at The Style Whale.

VMFA21 – judging was made a little easier with face sheets with the model, their “grades”, an artist statement, and photo of their inspiration art work and creation / 2 – the designers came back out with their models for the finale walk / 3 – a glimpse of another winner (those are bike tires on her top)

Having never judged the event before, none of us really knew what to expect. We got the chance to see several of the outfits up close and speak with the designers before the show and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we were blown away by the sheer creativity we witnessed. The premise of Teen Stylin’ is to use a piece of art from the museum as inspiration while adhering to the 90% rule – at least 90% of the garment must be constructed by atypical fashion techniques. This was no sew and go fashion design class: students went thrifting, made shoes from cardboard and dresses from doileys and patterns from stamps they designed and created. The list of materials students used is nearly endless: candy wrappers, pinecones, soda can tops, newspaper, puppy pad liners, paper cups, q-tips, paint chips, pipe cleaners, shells, rope/twine, foil, wire and the list just keeps going.

VMFA31 – behind the scenes sneak peek / 2 – an amazing back detail on one design that we loved / 3 – designer giving us the story on her art inspiration and design (another of that night’s winners) 

The actual runway viewing of the pieces was fun, but brief – the models were on stage for less than 60 seconds. If we hadn’t been able to see each piece backstage, we had this time to take in all of the details. Designers could choose a model or model their designs themselves.  One designer I spoke to backstage, Josephine Holland, a first time Teen Stylin’ student and 8th grader, had to do last minute alterations on her design so that it would fit her as her model wasn’t able to make the show. While students obviously learn creativity in the Teen Stylin’ program, another, lesser known character trait some develop is the ability to demonstrate flexibility, grace and quick thinking under pressure and less than desirable circumstances.

VMFA41 – a riff on a couture dress – designed to challenge the idea that couture is made of high end materials with a dress (gorgeous I might add) made of natural materials. Those are pinecones! / 2 – an Egyptian style dress inspired by a mummy / 3 – designer and her model – dress made of doileys, q-tips, and the handmade stamp for the pattern 

We came back the next weekend to judge the second round of designs. It was just as hard, but by then we knew what we were looking for and we were ready to be amazed. I still can’t get over how creative and inspiring all of the students were. I really don’t have a creative artistic bone in my body and the students’ ability to take their ideas from conception to fruition is remarkable.

VMFA51 – the first night’s students / 2 – each student was required to sketch/draw/paint or otherwise render their design on paper. / 3 – students from the second event. 

During our break, Jenny and I wandered VMFA and saw several of the art pieces up close, further cementing our amazement (have I used this word enough yet?) at the skills of these students. One of my absolute favorite aspects of this show was viewing the sketches each student was required to complete. There are rows of sketches, many of which we immediately recognized. The one featured above middle is a intricately detailed sketch from another winner that we choose.  If you are local to the area or want to take a day trip to the Virginia Musuem of Fine Arts, all of the winning designs will be featured in the downstairs education wing and I encourage you to see the creativity up close. If you can’t make it, I’ve included photos from VMFA below with the winners, their category, and other details. All of the following photos are property of VMFA.  All credits run left to right.

Metro 1 Best Use of Alternative Materials & Creative Construction

Metro I – Nov 15, 2014 Best Use of Alternative Materials & Creative Construction
6-8 Winner: Rithanya Saravanan, Grade 7, Pocahontas Middle School
9-12 Runner-up: Haley Kellam, Grade 9, Collegiate School
9-12 Winner: Olivia Nash, Grade 11, Appomattox Regional Governor’s School

Metro 1 Best Interpretation of an Artwork

Metro I – Nov 15, 2014 Best Interpretation of an Artwork
6-8 Winner: Lilly Phillips, Grade 7, The New Community School
9-12 Runner-up: Yazmine Dearing, Grade 10, Henrico High School Center for the Arts
9-12 Winner: Lili Ciprusova, Grade 10, Glen Allen High School

Metro 1 Best Male & Female Model

Metro I – Nov 15, 2014  Best Male & Female Model
Best Female Model: Amelia Seabury, model for Cary Miller, Grade 7, Albert Hill Middle School
Best Male Model: Jarrett Wilder, model for Yazmine Dearing, Grade 10, Henrico High School Center for the Arts

Metro 1 Best in Show

Metro I – Nov 15, 2014 Best in Show
6-8 Winner: Isabella Thomas, Grade 6, Homeschooled
9-12 Winner: Molly Crews, Grade 10, Veritas School

Metro 2 Best Use of Alternative Materials & Creative Construction

Metro II – Nov 22  (only students in grades 9-12) Best Use of Alternative Materials & Creative Construction
Runner-up: Izabela Clarke, Grade 11, St. Catherine’s School
Winner: Samuel Richardson, Grade 11, Glen Allen High School

Metro 2 Best Interpretation of an Artwork

Metro II – Nov 22  (only students in grades 9-12) Best Interpretation of an Artwork
Runner-up: Rachel Morrissey, Henrico High School Center for the Arts
Winner: Ellory Camejo, Grade 12, Atlee High School

Metro 2 Best Male and Female Model

Metro II – Nov 22  (only students in grades 9-12) Best Male & Female Model
Best Female Model: Kyra Gilchrist (designed & modeled her own garment), Grade 10, Thomas Jefferson High School
Best Male Model, Derek Jacoby, Model for Ellory Camejo, Grade 12, Atlee High School

Metro 2 Best in Show

Metro II – Nov 22  (only students in grades 9-12) Best in Show
Winner: Ella Beth Southall, Grade 12, St. Catherine’s School

Satellite and Statewide Best Use of Alternative Materials & Creative Construction

Satellite & Statewide – Nov 22 Best Use of Alternative Materials & Creative Construction
6-8 Winner: Sahara Clemons, Grade 8, Tandem Friends School, Charlottesville
9-12 Runner-up: Kayla Omsberg, Grade 12, Langley High School, McLean
9-12 Winner: Rebecca Rios, Grade 12, Potomac Falls High School, Sterling

Satellite and Statewide Best Interpretation of an Artwork

Satellite & Statewide – Nov 22 Best Interpretation of an Artwork
6-8 Winner: Alicia Gonzalez, Grade 7, Cooper Middle School, McLean
9-12 Runner-up: Alexandra Golding, Grade 10, Mount Vernon High School, Alexandria
9-12 Winner: Ellen Blackburn, Grade 11, James Madison High School, Vienna

Satellite and Statewide Best Male & Female Model

Satellite & Statewide – Nov 22  Best Male & Female Model
Best Female Model: Willow Baksa, model for Alexander Sausen, Grade 12, Kings Fork High School, Suffolk (I do not have the grade and school for the model)
Best Male Model: Peter Skudlarek, model for Alexandra Golding, Grade 10, Mount Vernon High School, Alexandria (I do not have the grade and school for the model)

Satellite and Statewide Best in Show

Satellite & Statewide – Nov 22 Best in Show
6-8 Winner: Jenna McFadden, Grade 7, Princess Anne Middle School, Virginia Beach
9-12 Winner: AJ Shostak, Grade 10, Jamestown High School, Williamsburg

AND WINNERS OF:

Best Overall: (chosen from the Best in Show winners of each show)
6-8 Winner: Jenna McFadden, Grade 7, Princess Anne Middle School, Virginia Beach
9-12 Winner: AJ Shostak, Grade 10, Jamestown High School, Williamsburg

I would just like to say a huge congratulations to all of the students who were a part of the Teen Stylin’ program this year. You all show great levels of talent and creativity and I hope you use this experience to push you further towards your goals, whatever those may be.

Post edit – a note on judging.  All judges were asked by VMFA staff to judge based on the following requirements:

Best of Use Alternative Materials and Creative Construction: Uses unexpected or alternative materials in creative ways and demonstrates a clear understanding of creative constructions. Limits use of traditional materials of clothing construction.

Best Interpretation of an Artwork – Clearly incorporates literally, figuratively, metaphorically, and/or conceptually a VMFA work fo art as their design inspiration. 

Best Male and Female Model – Model should exhibit confidence and playfulness on the runway. Engages the audience and exercises a competent cat walk representative of the design they model. 

Best in Show – Superiorly exhibits all of the criteria and traits listed in all award categories excluding Best Male and Female Model. The Best in Show winner is also eligible to win Best Overall.

Best Overall – This winning piece will goa bove and beyond the criteria and traits listed in all award categories and bring a unique and inspiring personal vision and design to the Teen Stylin’ program.

In addition, we were asked to rank ties according to student “grades” in Attendance (No absences, Number of Absences), Participation (Highly engaged, Fair engagement, Little to no engagement), and Homework (Completed all assignments, Completed most assignments, Completed little to no assignments).

Thank you VMFA for inviting me to judge this event! I was compensated for my time as a judge, but was not required to write or post anything on social media. Opinions are my own. See the Teen Stylin’ winners here and the VMFA blog post here.

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4 thoughts on “VMFA Teen Stylin’ 2014

  1. What an incredible opportunity! These kids all blew it out of the park. Thank you for sharing so many pics with us… I would love to go watch it next year.

  2. Of course! I cannot say enough how truly inspiring the teens and their designs were. They were so creative and used materials in ways I could never imagine. I know the event is ticketed but I’m sure you could attend as a guest or media!

  3. We were honored to have your participation this year, Sydney. We hope that you will stay involved with us in coming year’s. Thank you for such a thorough and complimentary post!!

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