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Fashion Design for the Future

Artist Invites Students to Express their Influences

Kent City third-graders were given the task of thinking into the future at ArtPrize’s Education Days, as they designed the fashion of the next 100 years.

A student stands on a chair to delicately add a protective shield over a mannequin’s face
A student stands on a chair to delicately add a protective shield over a mannequin’s face

Inspired by the work of artist Saya Woolfalk, whose designs are on display at the Grand Rapids Art Museum during ArtPrize Eight’s Sept. 21 – Oct. 9 run, students created their own designs using tape, scissors, markers and craft paper.

In a video, Woolfalk explained how her designs incorporate her mixed identities: She’s Brazilian, black, white and Japanese and said she considers herself a “human hybrid.” With that idea in mind, students mixed their own influences to create outfits for the people of 25, 50 and 100 years in the future.

Split into three tables, the 63 students collaborated to tape their mixed influences onto three mannequins.

Adam Drent sizes up a piece of string

“In the future I picture strings hanging from their legs,” Augusto Aguilar said as he cut blue strips out of crepe paper. “I’ve never seen pants with blue and brown.” Contributions to his 100-year design included a jetpack and wings for personal flight, with the addition of a necklace and high heels.

“I like hearts,” Desiree Baker said, swiveling a marker repeatedly into heart shapes to fill a cutout heart to be placed on the mannequin’s chest. Her design, to be worn 50 years from now, also included a diamond necklace, sandals and a wide-brimmed hat.

One 25-year design featured face protection, radioactive glasses, boots with built-in energy flow and a Darth Vader-inspired touch from Collin McKinley, who tacked on a computerized chest plate. Another student added a wristwatch with a blaster, and gloves to protect from other blasters. The watch also tells time, and the gloves offer protection from everything “except lava!” another student warned.

Kent City third-grader Brandon Juarez-Resendiz rips tape to connect the pieces of his design
Kent City third-grader Brandon Juarez-Resendiz rips tape to connect the pieces of his design

ArtPrize Inspires Classroom Creativity

Art teacher Sara Goodrich said in the four years she’s brought students to ArtPrize, it has enhanced their classroom learning and inspired activities for when they return to school.

“When they’re able to get out of the classroom and see art around them and be able to go around and touch it, or climb it — or in a lot of cases with ArtPrize, interact with it — it’s something unique that they don’t get on an everyday basis,” Goodrich said. “It really brings their creativity to another level.”

The third-graders will soon be making their own, more elaborate designs in class, including hats, boots and other clothing.

“It’s going to inspire us for the rest of the year,” Goodrich said. “They use it to fuel them as they continue on with their art.”

Students attach their finishing touches to the arms and legs of a design for 50 years in the future

Students also had the opportunity to tour other venues, including the Gerald R. Ford Museum and the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. Interacting with artists gives students opportunities that can’t be replicated in the classroom, Goodrich explained.

“They talk to each other, they talk to me, but getting to meet another artist outside of just what’s in Kent City and the elementary school, it’s very nice,” she said.


ArtPrize Education Days

Saya Woolfalk

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