Leah McCall, Owner and Creative Director of Whimsical Gatherings, is also a fashion design instructor at Tellico Plains High School. Its Leah’s passion to create and inspire others, yet her students amaze and inspire her each and every day. Beyond researching designers and developing portfolios, this year’s group of students were especially motivated to create fashion from recycled and redesigned household items. But that wasn’t all! They planned to present their creations to the public by means of a runway display called The Show. Their desire to construct jaw-dropping runway apparel consumed them and their excitement escalated leading up to the event. There was an energy in the group that Leah had not felt for years. Their immense creativity turned ordinary lesson plans into something truly magical. The students got involved in every aspect from collecting materials to modeling their own creations.
Ideas began to run wild in class after a simple conversation about how wasteful society had become and then brainstorming on ideas to bring about awareness through fashion. Turning trash into treasure was their goal. The thought that eye-catching couture could only be made from costly fabrics and premium sewing notions was completely rejected. The supplies needed were right before them. The first task was to save all of the plastic eating utensils after cafeteria lunch! With these simple treasures, the first dress was made and as the weeks continued to unfold, the student designers produced garments of paper, magazines, cotton balls, cardboard, garbage bags, tin cans, book papers, and other unusual but common elements. Anything the students could get their hands on for free, they turned into a garment. After being submerged into production for weeks, they finished their goal of 40 garments. At that point it became very clear that the students’ work must be showcased and The Show was born.
Coco Chanel once said, “In order to be irreplaceable one must be different.” and according to Leah, “This class was, without a doubt, irreplaceable.” The night of The Show, the school was filled with color, light, and a lively crowd. The process not only transformed simple elements into garments, but also transformed individuals. A special guest, alumni Colby West, joined the fun by presenting a beautiful design. Leah and her daughter Madeline also closed out The Show dressed in dramatic handmade dresses.
We are proud to share a few photos from The Show with you today. If you are inspired by these talented young designers, please leave a comment telling them so! You can also view more from this event by clicking on the photos below.
A special thanks to those who donated their time and talents to this memorable evening.
Photography: Jennie Andrews
Lighting: Jim Ogle with Ogle Entertainment and Ambiance Light Design
Public Relations: Carrie Koller Waller
Hair and Makeup: Colby West and Ethan Shaw
Local Press: Robert Burleson with Monroe Life Magazine
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