By Michele Dotson

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 8.26.04 PMOn February 22nd and March 1st, Rocky River High School’s Honors Apparel Development II Class won first and second place with a $600.00 prize for the best use of recyclable materials at The Recycle the Runway Event held at the Southern Spring Home and Garden Show in the Park Expo and Conference Center.

Seventeen students from the class designed and created the four winning garments.  The winners were chosen based on entries that incorporated the largest amount of recyclable materials.

Charlotte Solid Waste Services, Waste Reduction in Mecklenburg County, and MGR Youth Empowerment sponsored this event.  

The Recycle the Runway Event offers an opportunity for high school students in public or private Mecklenburg County Schools to participate and showcase their design skills to create and exhibit outfits, stage decorations and award trophies from items found in a recycling or trash container.

Rocky River apparel teacher Carol Parrish knew this project was something her students could do.Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 8.26.10 PM

“Since one of the objectives in the Honors Apparel Development II course has to do with taking an item and recycling it, I thought this was a great project to have the students think outside the box instead of using fabric they would use items out of the recycling bin,” she says.

Students used any materials they wanted to as long as it was on the list of recyclables accepted in landfills.

The hands-on learning experience gave students the opportunity to use the information they had learned through two levels of coursework.

“The students had to use their prior learning in elements and principles of design as well as apparel construction techniques in order to execute the project,” says Parrish.

The four designs were created for and modeled on the runway by Rocky River students the designers selected.

Everyone was amazed at the response.

“It make us feel great about ourselves and that we could achieve something that people really liked,” says Diana Canas Martinez, who was part of the team that created the first-place dress.

For third-place winner Daniyelle Bruton, it was a surprise to see people take a real interest in her work.

Someone at the show liked her work so much, she’s been invited to create a garment made from a company’s business post cards for an upcoming show.

“I am so excited somebody actually wants me to design something for Charlotte Week,” says Bruton. “I know that I can do this now.  This class has given me opportunities to grow and be more self-confident.”

Bruton is currently working on a six design line for an upcoming competition in Greensboro. As part of the competition she will create one of the designs, an ivory and black dress suitable for a night out. She is making the dress for her mother.

Parrish is taking 15 students to the Families, Careers, Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) competition in Greensboro in April, the most of any high school in the Charlotte area.

Parrish, who has a degree in nutrition with a minor in chemistry, is uniquely qualified to help prepare this group of students to compete in everything from fashion design and construction (she’s been sewing most of her life), to competition on “families first” topics and nutrition and wellness.

Parrish is hoping for a big win and a qualification for national competition in San Antonio.