Written by Aaron Goldschmidt | Photographed by Eric White | Styled by Lynn Levoy
Aaron Goldschmidt, our dear friend, is the Founder of Shine, an organization that creates artistically-inspired programs for children. So in celebration of tonight’s MET Gala honoring Comme des Garçons, we tasked him with developing a workshop where kids could discuss fashion as art and create an avant-garde piece inspired by CDG. Aaron gave us the play-by-play of the workshop so that you can inspire your own budding fashion designers at home.
To begin, Randi, our head teacher and myself, sat in a discussion circle talking about the clothes that we wear. What does it mean to dress for school? To dress up? Does what you wear tell people about who you are or how you’re feeling? Can your clothes make a statement? We then asked the kids if they thought fashion designers were artists. There was no fooling this crew of downtown boys. We all agreed, then went on to look at eight CDG looks and discussed the fashion label.
I find that by simply asking more questions, the right leading questions, we can help guide children to understanding a concept without it having to be forced into their head. It means a lot more when they start to piece things together rather than when we tell them directly.
The boys understood these clothes were special. We discussed the structure of the garments as well as their sculptural quality. We had already talked about the fact that designing clothes was like building, just building on a body. The details on the CDG clothes were noticeably popping off each garment, the 3D aspect making them feel constructed and appealing to the boys’ desire to build.
We told the boys they were going to design a garment using the distressed vintage t-shirts on the mannequins. Since CDG is a Japanese label, origami paper is the perfect material to construct
an original garment while tying it back to the theme.
We then went on to teach the boys simple folds but encouraged them to make up their own folds, to do a repetition of folds, to really go crazy, go avant-garde with experimental and unusual ideas.
It was then on to the construction of the garment on the mannequin. Using adhesive tape so they could move their origami around, the boys began building their piece. For embellishments, we added ribbons, buttons, and crumpled up white butcher paper as an added fabric in case they wanted to add volume or length or giant flowers.
With only guidance, a little direction, and some questions, we were able to allow the boys to really get into the process. When they settled on placement for their paper and embellishments, we came in with a hot glue gun to attach.
Our workshop concluded with another meeting where each designer got to speak about his garment.
his to be "joyful"!
Gabi really wanted to
Show off the wings.
his vision spoke volumes
about him as a designer...
Allowing children to explore and create using a theme that might seem daunting or difficult can become an opportunity for learning, growing, and expanding their views of the world. This ultimately leads to creating critical thinkers, creative minds, and open hearts - making the world a better place for all of us.
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