Art Directors Club of Denver Paper Fashion Show Winning Design
Last month on A Hat for All seasons featured an article on the annual ADCD (Art Directors Club of Denver) Paper Fashion Show. We focused on the incredible hats that were created for the runway. We wanted to find out more about this fundraising event and about the group behind the winning creation.
Stephanie Hunn Ingraham, graphic and web designer, artist, and illustrator for siyo, was kind enough to chat with us about the show and to give us some behind the scenes information.
Here’s what she had to say.
Tell us a bit about how long this show has been going on and who’s idea this was.
The Art Directors Club of Denver has put the Paper Fashion Show on since 2005. The first year the paper fashion show was very different. Jimmy Diffee from ADCD Board of Directors was the original idea man. He wanted to put on a fundraiser that really was creative and edgy. He had heard of the San Francisco Paper Fashion show and pushed to try it here in Denver. The first show was a huge success. The first show was hosted by drag-queen comedians and had 23 designs.
How much has been raised and has the amount seen steady accumulation?
The first year the show raised $1500 for Downtown Aurora Visual Arts (DAVA). This year they donated $5000 and the total donated over the 8 years is $27,000.
What sorts of specific programs have been made possible?
DAVA has a Job Training in the Arts class for middle school aged children. These classes have shown through research that a creative outlet can increase a GPA average.
They also have after school programs for children ages 7-14. These programs foster creative thinking and problem solving skills.
The children that participate in the programs at DAVA also design paper dresses for the Paper Fashion Show. The kids are amazing and the designs they put together really are fantastic. Please visit DAVA for more information on their programs.
How long have you been a part of this show and What prompted you to get involved with ADCD and DAVA?
Four years ago in 2008 my dear friend Elizabeth Barnes and I went to the Paper Fashion show. Her Husband owns a specialized print shop and has been attending the show from the beginning. When we saw the show we looked at each other and said, “Let’s do this next year.” We did! In 2009 Elizabeth and I teamed up. We named our team Pulp Function, a clever name we thought. Our first year as designers we had a blast. The next year Barry Brown joined our team. This last year we had Elizabeth, Barry, myself, and Robyn Winters.
That first year that I attended the show was my first knowledge of ADCD. I am a graphic designer and so have been involved in the club since then. The Paper Fashion Show is one of their main events and I am happy that I have been part of it for that last several years. My involvement with DAVA has only been in relation to the ADCD Paper Fashion Show.
How do the fashion shows liken to other fashion shows?
The ADCD has done a great job of creating the Fashion Show feeling. They really direct the show designers to create avaunt-garde pieces that have a real fashion quality. Of course they also like the wow pieces that push the show to be as artistic as it is.
What is your favorite part of the show?
I must say my favorite part of the whole show is sneaking that first peak of the competition. When we all arrive at the venue, it is always so fun to see all of the other creations. To see how our design fairs to the other 50 designers. Now that I have been in the show for 3 years there are familiar faces and it is fun to find out their story about this years dress.
What inspired your team’s fashions?
Barry is a big fan of the 1930’s Designer Erte’. He brought a book with Erte’ designs. Elizabeth Robyn and I brought dress fashions to the table as well. Our discussions covered the wow factor as well as the ability to create the concept out of paper.
This year our concept was directed to a butterfly. We wanted to create a dress that had a different look than our winning dress last year. The butterfly concept twisted and turned into the dress that won.
How long does it take to prepare for a show like this?
For our most recent winning dress, we started our concept meetings in December. We met to discuss the direction of the dress. In January we finalized our concept and ordered paper at the end of January. Paper was delivered in early February. We met weekly right up to the date of the show, March 15th. I personally put in about 75 hours of design work and creation. The other members of the team matched my time as well. We have estimated that from design to concept to creation took about 300 hours total.
How are the models chosen?
The ADCD provides models from NXT Modeling Agency. We are allowed to choose our own models from their site. It is on the designers to meet the models and fit accordingly.
How does seeing your designs on stage, and then after in the photos and videos, make you feel?
This year it was so fun. It was our concept to push paper to a whole new place. We wanted people to look at the dress and be wowed by the fact that it was paper. To see the dress come down the runway, I knew we succeeded in that. It looked like fabric.
What is your favorite step in the process from beginning to end and why?
I love the final fitting. It really puts you in the place of… we did this we created this out of paper!
We’d love it if you could share some of the details of this years winning Butterfly Dress.
I would love to. The wings were constructed in wire. They were wrapped with paper then the wings were glittered. For the dress we cut the paper into small pieces. Our team crinkled each piece to give it a soft feel and each piece took about 20 minutes. I sewed each of the pieces together and then tailored the top and skirt to fit our model like a glove. It is amazing to work with paper in this way. It is as much an engineering project as it is design. We had to really think about how paper is and then transform it.
Which is your favorite design of yours from all of the shows you’ve been involved in and why?
I am torn between this years winning dress and the 1st dress created by just Elizabeth and I. This years dress was a showstopper. We set our sights high and we made an amazing dress. It does not compare though to the first year, Elizabeth and I had such a great time designing, it was not a winner that year, but we felt like winners. We were so proud of ourselves for doing it.
What happens to the dresses once the shows are done?
Many of the dresses are auctioned off. EXPEDEX, the paper supplier, often buys two or three of the dresses to display at their headquarters in Denver. The amount the auction raises goes towards the fundraising efforts so many of the dresses are bought the night of the show.