Folds of 'Wonderland'


POSTED: Friday, April 24, 2009

Students are accustomed to heeding teachers' orders, but when it came time to planning their annual fashion showcase, the seniors of the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Apparel Product Design and Merchandising department had the opportunity to come up with their own assignment, and they didn't take the easy way out.





        University of Hawaii at Manoa senior fashion show

» Place: Pacific Beach Hotel


» Time: Lunch at noon; show at 1 p.m.


» Tickets: $40


» Call: 956-2244 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)




So, along with aloha wear and individual collection requirements, guests at the fashion show Sunday will be able to gauge how well the students lived up to their “;Alice in Wonderland”; as couture and wearable origami challenges.

The two challenges were among ideas the class voted on. Those tossed out included garments made from “;paper or plastic,”; the “;little green dress”; made from natural or recycled fibers, and Disney-themed attire. The Disney discussion led to the selection of one story, “;Alice in Wonderland,”; to present a more cohesive show.

Ju Park moved here five years ago from Korea, so during the class debate, she said, “;I didn't know what they were talking about.”;

She wasn't familiar with the tale of Alice, who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy land populated by eccentric characters and anthropomorphic creatures.

“;I watched the DVD from the library and then I got it.”;

She created a girly dress for Alice and deemed it more cute than the feminine, sophisticated style of her individual collection.

“;It was really fun, but it was hard to make.”;

Tara Binek didn't look down a rabbit hole, but did find herself glancing down at hexagonal floor tiles in a women's restroom on campus while trying to conceptualize her piece for the avant-garde origami segment.

“;I would look at that and say, 'That's origami.'”;

One of her design signatures is piece work, reflected in her individual collection in water- and flower-petal designs. She pieced her origami dress hexagons from swatches of different fabric, including a striped print.

“;It took a lot of time matching the stripes. It was very labor intensive,”; she said.

ERIN LUDOLPH had suggested the origami idea.

“;I tend to be more architecturally oriented anyway. To do something loose and flowing would be hard because that's not the way I think. Originally I wanted to do something with pleating,”; she said, but it didn't work out that way.

“;My collection is all pleats, so by the time I got to this, I was tired of pleating,”; she said of her one-shoulder, kimono-like creation, using seven yards of silk brocade, four in one sleeve alone.

Char Linhard found herself doubly challenged by the two assignments.

“;My collection is very casual. I like simple, plain clothing,”; she said. She was one of the last to call dibs on an Alice character. When the human characters were selected first, she had to consider one of the objects in the story and thought it would be fun to dress the teapot in a pouffy dress, which forced her to step out of her casual comfort zone, just as she did with the origami challenge.

“;The origami was more like architecture. You had to think about how things are going to stand, and how they're going to stay that way. I'd never done anything like that before.

“;It taught me about what I can do and I feel more comfortable now about working in the industry.”;

Adding to the tea party is Matt Bruening's Mad Hatter, chosen because he could relate to the character's spontaneity. He wanted to demonstrate creativity, while challenging himself to also make something that women would find wearable.

Meanwhile, Alysia Himoto enjoyed folding fabric so much, she intends to add it as part of her designer's repertoire.

“;I spent three weeks drawing, folding and experimenting,”; Himoto said. “;It was kind of a headache, but after it was done, I was happy with it.

“;It was not something I would have gotten into on my own, but I definitely want to experiment more with structured design.”;