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Garrett at James Clemens ranks as finalist in Birmingham Fashion Week

James Clemens student Lauren Garrett was a finalist in the Rising Design Star Challenge, sponsored by Birmingham Museum of Art. Lauren is shown adjusting the dress at the museum. (CONTRIBUTED)
James Clemens student Lauren Garrett was a finalist in the Rising Design Star Challenge, sponsored by Birmingham Museum of Art. Lauren is shown adjusting the dress at the museum. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON, BIRMINGHAM – An avant-garde dress designed by Lauren Garrett advanced to the finals of the Rising Design Star Challenge, sponsored by Birmingham Museum of Art in April.

The contest is associated with Fashion Week in Birmingham. Live models walked the catwalk to flaunt the top 24 garments on the runway, Sherri Shamwell said. Shamwell teaches Garrett in family/consumer sciences class at James Clemens.

The Rising Design Star Challenge inspires Alabama youth to create wearable pieces of art. “There were 120 original designs submitted for this challenge and Lauren has made it to the Top Sixteen,” Shamwell said.

Students were challenged to create a garment using non-traditional materials. Garrett’s dress features a top made from cupcake liners and pipe cleaners. The bottom is made with Saran wrap and pipe cleaners.

After experimenting, Garrett used multiple layers of Saran Wrap connected by staples as the lining. “This makes it easier to connect other materials and add a more complicated look,” she said. The dress bottom and sleeves use black pipe cleaners.

“For the top, I taped white muffin cups for a pleated look. I wanted something a bit crazy and ‘high fashion,’ so sparkling red pipe cleaner accentuates the waist line,” Garrett said.

In addition, the top 40 designers were given a second challenge to design an outfit using items donated by the sponsors, Buffalo Rock. “Lauren had 10 days to design this second outfit and make it,” Shamwell said.

Adding to the pressure, Garrett was keeping up with her regular schoolwork, taking the ACT exam and dealing with advanced-placement class requirements, Shamwell said.

“Lauren’s second design was an obvious favorite last night because it was posted on the Birmingham Fashion Week’s Facebook page. Lauren’s sister modeled the outfit and the purse that Lauren made to match the outfits. It’s very cool,” Shamwell said.

After Fashion Week in Birmingham, Garrett’s designs were on exhibit at James Clemens. Lauren’s parents are Bill and Debbie Garrett.

For more information, visit bhamfashionweek.com.

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