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Students refashioning wedding dresses for charity

By UCOL on Tuesday, 12 June 2018

A photograph of a refashioned bridal dress with the original photograph of the bride

UCOL students are breathing new life into old wedding dresses to raise money for Hospice Whanganui.

The project, ReFashioned Bridal, is a collaboration between UCOL and Hospice Whanganui, with UCOL students and established designers refashioning ten donated wedding gowns. The new and improved gowns will then be auctioned off with all proceeds going to Hospice Whanganui.   

Six UCOL Bachelor of Design and Arts students majoring in Textiles/Fashion are refashioning a gown each. The other four dresses are being refashioned by UCOL Textiles/Fashion lecturer, designer and Programme Leader Stephanie West, and fellow fashion designers Sally Eagle, Anita Turner, and Gina Burrows. 

All of the materials being used by UCOL students are recycled, with Jane Yeh Designs donating the fabric.  

ReFashioned Bridal came about after Hospice Whanganui Operations Manager Sandy McDougall contacted Stephanie looking to get UCOL Creative degree students involved in a fundraising project.

For the students involved, the project is part of this year’s curriculum. UCOL Graphic Design and Visual Arts students are also supporting the event through handling tasks such as designing flyers, posters and a logo for the event, in addition to running social media channels, and documenting the dressmaking through photos and video.



Stephanie says refashioning an old garment presents different challenges to the designers and students. 
   
“We’re having to think about limited fabric. The dress I am using is difficult because there are a lot of blemishes on the fabric, so I have to think about how to design around that. Then we have to deal with issues around sizing. It’s presented new challenges for the students and pushed them to problem-solve – it has been a very valuable learning experience or them, one that has direct benefits for our community.”  

UCOL Bachelor of Design and Arts student Alexandria Morder says she’s enjoying the project, which is her first time working on a wedding dress. 

“It’s challenging, but at the same time it’s easy to get inspiration because you already have the material and the base shape to work with.”

“I have an 80s dress, which has a glamourous, princess look. I wanted to build on that, so I’m going for a fantasy look which I think I’ve been able to bring out pretty well.”   

Fellow student Charleigh Te Peeti, says the challenge of refashioning an old dress has allowed her try new things she didn’t know she could do. 

“It has been really fun. Being limited to the material I have, is a challenge, and it’s made me try to find new meaning in different parts of the dress. You’ve got to go with the flow when you can’t go out and buy new material.”

Charleigh says she is going for a modern look with her dress, not for the typical bride.  



There will be a ReFashioned Bridal information stand at the Manawatu Wedding Expo on 24th June at Awapuni Racecourse, Palmeston North.
 
The dresses will then be shown off at a cocktail event at UCOL Whanganui on 28th June, and on display at the Whanganui UCOL Edith Gallery from 2nd July to 6th July. The auction will be held at Jane Winstone Chapel on 7th July.

You can follow ReFashioned Bridal on social media:

ReFashioned Bridal

Official opening cocktail event
28 June, UCOL Whanganui Campus Atrium. Tickets $55 each available through http://hospicewhanganui.org.nz

Dresses on display 
Whanganui UCOL Edith Gallery, 2nd July – 6th July.  Gold coin donation.

Dress auction
Jane Winstone Retirement Village Chapel, 7th July. Ticket $35 each available through http://hospicewhanganui.org.nz
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