By Loretta Gillespie
The Cullman Times
Fairview High School senior, Makena Butts, was chosen as a finalist in last weekend’s Birmingham Fashion Week's ”Design Star” competition. Makena submitted a fashion sketch and was selected from more than 200 applicants as one of 40 high school students to create a garment using non-traditional items, defined as “no fabric and no sewing.”
That might present a problem for some designers, but for Makena, with encouragement from her teacher, Whitney Haynes, it was a two-day fun-filled project.
Makena's inspiration came from her family's peacocks. Since the competition rules stated that no feathers could be used, Makena resourcefully created her garment from dyed wheat, congan grass, coffee filters, shredded paper, duct tape, party streamers, aluminum foil, and part of a bath mat.
She used gold spray paint for the tail, which was cardboard, teal spray for the coffee filters, which were the ruffled “feathers” toward the top of the train, and the bodice was fashioned from black crepe paper. More coffee filters were added for the top. The end result was stunning.
Makena admits to being a little nervous until she stepped out on the runway. “Once you step onstage all the nerves go away,” she laughed. “Actually, we were in a big tent and it was so cold I hardly thought about anything except that I was freezing!”
Mrs. Haynes was there to lend her support. “She helped me so much, gave me so much encouragement and supported me through the whole process,” said Makena.
Earlier in the week Makena attended a gala event honoring the 40 finalists. The top 30 garments were announced, and Makena made the final cut, making her eligible for the opportunity to model her garment on the runway at Birmingham Fashion Week.
She was all a glimmer in her creative concoction, and wowed the crowd with her imaginative use of materials.
Makena dreams of attending the Art Institute in Atlanta, hopefully on a scholarship, to obtain her degree in Fashion and Design.
The top two winners each year at Birmingham Fashion Week are awarded a scholarship with the top winner getting a $500 scholarship that can be used toward tuition or art supplies or whatever they need to pursue their careers. Second place gets $300, and third place gets $200.
The finalists' garments were on exhibit in the Birmingham Museum of Art until February 10.