The Future Fashion show and Godbrothers Part I premiere is almost upon us! Our magazine has been sent off to the printer, we spent this week painting signage, tomorrow we’ll be building our runway, and next Friday we will celebrate all the hard work and creativity we’ve all put into this project over the past 4 months.
While I’m feeling really excited and proud of everyone’s commitment to the show, organizing an event like this in a non-compulsory, drop-in program setting can be complicated. While we have a core group of about 20 kids who show up regularly, due to circumstances totally out of their control kids can’t always show up to each program day, even if they really want to. We have jobs that different kids have claimed – like DJ and make up artist – but there is a very real possibility that someone won’t be able to show up and we need to have a plan B in the event that any post or job will be left open.
Another issue with celebrating the work done by a group of kids in a program like ours is around inclusion. Some kids haven’t been around for the duration of the Future Fashion program but have gotten involved in the past couple weeks. Their contributions are super meaningful and important, but they may not have created their own piece of clothing to model during the show since they started attending after we had moved on from that particular focus. Some kids created multiple designs, so I feel confident that everyone who wants to will have something fun to wear, but there is definitely potential for some confusion and difficulties around this.
Over the past couple weeks, we’ve been working on compiling our fashion magazine, and trying to make sure that work by as many kids as possible is represented in it has also been a little bit of a struggle. While I think it makes sense to feature heavily the work of kids who have shown the most commitment and excitement about their fashion projects, I also don’t want to undervalue the work of someone who worked hard but maybe never finished a project either due to lower interest or spotty attendance. I’ve asked other mentors and many of the kids to review the proof of the magazine and point out if anyone’s work is missing from it but who knows if we’ve really caught all the gaps!
For the most part I am happy to deal with these issues if it means that our program creates an open-ended environment where everyone’s ideas can develop independently, based on their specific interests and needs and ways of working. But the question of how to make sure each kid feels included and celebrated when there aren’t regimented projects or even compulsory attendance is one that feels important to think about as we continue this work!
And as a bonus, if you are new to fashion and sewing but want to make something cool, I’ve drafted this lesson plan for how to make a super simple shirt. If you try it out and have any issues/questions or suggestions, I’d love to hear them! Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.