Designers take to the stage

The Wearable Art Show. Photo: CNP

23 designers are performing the characters from the semi-opera: The Fairy-Queen in costumes made of scrap and recycled materials.

The costume performance called The Wearable Art Show is held by the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in the Bute Theatre. All the costumes are designed by 23 students who are studying Design for Performance at the Drama Department.

“I was a senior Design Lecturer at the college, I’m now a freelance designer, but I came back for this project, which is very close to my heart,” says Bettina Reeves, Design Tutor of this show.

“The students do throw themselves into the dancing, even though the design students probably never thought to be asked to be on stage themselves.” She says designers have demonstrated resilience in working with difficult materials within one month, which is a tight schedule.

Ms Reeves adds, that there are more than 45 materials used in making these costumes. Most of them are unconventional, recycled and from scrap materials such as tea bag fabric, onion bags, bamboo canes, twigs, second-hand bike wheels, assorted papers, baby bottles, cardboard, plastic bin bags, wet-strength tissue papers and etc.

Bettina Reeves is helping the show preparation. Photo: CNP

She says the budget allocated for this project is approximately £750 which is small because it is largely made up recycled and scrap materials, apart from some minimal fees which the tutors and students paid by themselves.

Karen Thomas, Costume Tutor of this show, who is helping the students to construct the patterns and the costumes. She thinks this show is different from the regular fashion catwalk shows since this one has vivid characters based on the semi-opera. The costumes and music are all to help reflect the personalities and characters. She is trying to make students understand the characters for the purpose of making and realizing the designs better.

“It is like an explosion of all the senses in it, including the lighting, the sound, the visual,” she says.

For almost all the student designers, performing something they designed themselves is a brand-new experience.

Marrietta Korszniak, who performs Winter in this show, told Cardiff News Plus after the first performance yesterday night, “For me, it was not a challenge for the designer’s outfit. But it was challenging to go out and stage performing this.”

Marrietta Korszniak in The Wearable Art Show. Photo: CNP

“It’s not something that I used to do. It took me out of my comfort zone quite strongly. It was really challenging, really scary, really stressful but fun as well. I think it was great.”

Rachel Gifford, who performs Summer, said before the first show, “It is the first time I wear some things I designed. When you are designing something you have to wear, you have to make it look good. There’s a lot of pressure to make it look good because if you do a bad job, you’re the one who’s wearing it.”

Rachel Gifford is making up. Photo: CNP

There are seven performances in total from yesterday to this Friday, all of them contain the same costumes and performances. And each lasts a half hour. The last three performances will be presented tomorrow.

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