Turning trash into fashion treasure

Kayla Calhoon-Renco, left, and Keely Fein model two of the shopping bag gowns which will be featured at the Bremerton High School fashion show May 19. - Steven DeDual/staff photo
Kayla Calhoon-Renco, left, and Keely Fein model two of the shopping bag gowns which will be featured at the Bremerton High School fashion show May 19.
— image credit: Steven DeDual/staff photo

To say Madonna Hanna, fashion marketing teacher at Bremerton High School, is proud of her students is like saying water is wet.

And with a fashion show planned for 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 19 at the high school, she’ll have the opportunity to show the community why.

Currently, her classes are working on a project which goes along with the current trend of “going green.”

Samantha Davies, a student in Hanna’s class and one of two featured student designers for the upcoming show, has designed four outfits, accessories and all, out of duct tape. Hanna was able to order the tape in a variety of colors, and thanks to some help from Kitsap Credit Union, they were able to get what was needed to create the outfits.

“I needed a bag for school,” Davies said. “So my mother handed me a roll of duct tape and said, ‘Make yourself a bag.’ I think she was joking, but I made myself a messenger bag.”

Davies and Hanna decided that duct tape would be a great way to show how useful everyday items could be, and how fashionable. The duo chose Wendy Alix, K-Jasmin James, Terri Ginther and Jasmyn Bolben as models and Davies began designing outfits for each.

Monday, she was busy making alterations on her first design.

“I just have to take the skirt in a little,” Davis said of an outfit she made for Alix.

Davies intends on attending the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) in California after high school.

The other featured student designer for the show is Marlena Dougherty and she has created outfits from plastic grocery bags to fit her models Keely Fein and Kayla Calhoon-Renco.

“I have made four so far,” Dougherty said. “I am making three more though.”

The process she uses requires an iron to melt the bags together in whatever pattern she needs and some parchment paper to insulate the bags from the iron so they don’t just melt away. She also sews zippers into the backs of the dresses, just as one would find in any other dress.

The 18-year-old Dougherty came up with the idea of using plastic bags while at her job at QFC.

“I was thinking of things that can be easily re-used,” she said. “And we have a place at work where people can bring in their plastic bags to be recycled. I just asked my manager if I could take some home.”

This is not Dougherty’s first foray into the realm of creating things from scraps.

“I made my dad a jacket out of blue tarp when I was only 11,” she said. “I still have it. Ms. Hanna wore it in the last fashion show.”

Dougherty also has been accepted to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York, something Hanna says is “the best opportunity for (Dougherty).”

“I got accepted to FIT, a prestigious fashion college in New York,” she said. “But I am not sure if I am going to be able to go. That is my first choice obviously, but I’m not sure because of the money.”

“That girl has so much talent,” Hanna said of Dougherty. “It would be a shame if she was not able to go to the best school. She deserves a scholarship of some kind.”

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