Fashion Design School Students Place First in Wearable Art Gala

Held on March 31, the 9th Annual Wearable Art Gala (WAG) – which raises funds for the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art – was a spectacular showcase of unconventional, wearable art. 

Fashion students were divided into three teams and had to come up with a theme for their wearable art piece. The final products were creative, thematic, and garnered quite a buzz on the gala runway.   

With a healthy dose of competition from other schools and artists in the valley, Centre for Arts and Technology made quite the showing in it’s first year of participating in the event.  

The piece entitled “Sun Kissed City” beat out of 70 other runway looks to earn first place at the gala. Fashion Design & Merchandising students Jill Setah, Shelby Hipfner, Baily Weir, Johanna Kreiger and Darcie Rudyk made up the student team behind the winning art piece. 

Modeled by Darcie Rudyk, their creation “Sun Kissed City” brought Kelowna to life on the runway. As the team describes it, “This creation displays our city’s most famous attractions, from the legendary Ogopogo to our snow peaked mountains, rolling vineyards, and majestic lake. All of this beauty is warmed under the beautiful Okanagan Sunshine.”

The winning piece wasn’t the only CAT team entry that caught the attention of the crowd: the event organizers chose one of the student creations called “Wake Up & Smell the Truth” to open the night and set the mood for the evening. As Valaura Vedan describes it on the Welcome to Kelowna website:

“The lights begin to change and the woman who has been posed at centre stage since my seat mate’s arrival at 6:30 (it is now 7:15) becomes illuminated. Branches (yes, tree branches) protrude from her shoulders and her back has been painted in a delicate faux bois pattern. Her floor-length skirt is stiff, more sculpture than anything, and I am told that a second person is beneath it. The spectacle is grand, as she turns and a blackened animalistic figure crawls out from under the dress of the “Mother Nature” figure.”

“Wake-up and Smell the Truth” was created by fashion students Katrina Haining, Kelsey Orlecki (modeled Mother Nature), Dominique Enns (modeled “Nature’s Offspring”), Beth Charlebois, Erin Hamilton, and Salina Covarrubio.

The final student piece - “Guardians of the Nile” - was created by Danielle Lafortune, Courtney Haines, Nutcha Kusrithepprathan, Sarah Deederly, Jesse Stanley, Andrea Witchen, and Nicola Treat (modeled by Anna Lafortune). Inspired by the wonder and grandeur of ancient Egypt, “Guardian’s of the Nile” was an impressive three-dimensional pyramid, which took the form of a woman’s floor length dress, with a train of blue fabric to represent the Nile River. The model was spray painted gold and adorned in gold jewelry, wearing a headdress featuring two faces to make the finished look represent three ancient Egyptian deities watching over the pyramids and the river, acting as “Guardians of the Nile”.

The three CAT teams created their pieces under the direction of Suzette van Bakel, Fashion Design & Merchandising Department Head in Kelowna. The students have set the bar very high at the Wearable Art Gala – we look forward to seeing what the fashion student teams come up with for next year’s event!