VMFA Teen Stylin’

64 teen designers competed in Richmond to show off their ideas about the future of fashion. 

Teen Stylin’ 2013 Runway Exhibition from Briget Ganske on Vimeo.

As each of 64 teen designers and their models stepped onto the stage in the VMFA’s 500-seat Leslie Cheek Theater the evening of Dec. 6, the audience gasped in delight and amazement as garments made from materials as unexpected as crayons and Christmas lights, window screens and gilded wood picture frames, and even chop sticks and their wrappers appeared on the makeshift runway.

The sold-out crowd was there to see the designers’ one-of-a-kind wearable art during the first night of the ninth annual Teen Stylin’ Fashion Weekend, the culmination of an 8-week long program conducted by the VMFA. By the end of the weekend, more than 100 aspiring designers and their models in grades 6-12 from across the Commonwealth had walked the runway.

The theme of the show was “Costume Couture.” Students who attended classes at the VMFA and at satellite locations—the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach and the McLean Project for the Arts—were inspired by works from the permanent collection and current special exhibit, Hollywood Costume.

“It’s one thing to paint something and hang it on a wall,” said Susan Jenkins of Richmond, mother of 17-year-old Douglas S. Freeman High School student Maegan Jenkins, winner of the award for Best Use of Creative Construction. “To have the experience of figuring out how your work of art has to hang on a body was great for Maegan.”

“It’s especially exciting to see students repeat the program,” said Jessica Bauserman, teen program coordinator for the VMFA since 2008. This year’s winner of Best in Show, Dylan Reissner of Henrico High School, has participated in the program for six years, and at least a dozen others in this year’s group are also repeat participants said Bauserman.

“It was hard and stressful, but it was worth it,” said 12-year-old designer Emma Seli a seventh grader at Midlothian Middle School whose model and classmate, 11-year-old Caroline Seely, presented her wearable art.

The weekend’s nine winners will be treated to an all-expense paid trip to New York City April 17-19 where Bauserman, along with Richmond program instructor Mo Regulinski, will lead them on tours of Parsons The New School for Design, the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “We will also take students to [designer fabric store] Mood,” she explains, “so they can get their textile appreciation in.”

But the night wasn’t all about the designers. “I’m addicted to ‘Project Runway,’” said 9-year-old Haiden Curtis, a fourth grader at Richmond’s Mary Munford Elementary School who, with friend and classmate 10-year-old Avery Crumlish, attended the event with their mothers.

Curtis attended a summer camp at the VMFA, and says she hopes to one day be part of Teen Stylin’. For Crumlish, also an aspiring designer, the highlight of the night was a garment designed by home-schooled seventh grader Madeline Walter who was the winner of the award for Most Wearable Art gr. 6-8. Why was the garment Crumlish’s favorite? “I liked the way she walked on stage like she was a princess.”

Teen Stylin’ 2013 Winners

Best Use of Alternative Materials:

  • gr. 6-8 Winner: Xameria Wallace, Holman Middle School. Modeled by Kenique Brown.
  • gr. 9-12 Winner: Chris Quarterman, Motoaca High School. Modeled by Tanisha Wright.
  • gr. 9-12 Runner Up: Ellie Braun, Henrico High School. Modeled by Dorian Maris.

Best Use of Creative Construction:

  • gr. 6-8 Winner: Emma Bolstad, OrchardHouse Middle School. Modeled by Evylen Southam-Gerow.
  • gr. 9-12 Winner: Maegan Jenkins, Douglas Freeman High School. Modeled by Mary-Kate Parkhurst.
  • gr. 9-12 Runner Up: Sara Parrish, Henrico High School. Modeled by Joanna Gray.

Most Green Conscious:

  • gr. 6-8 Winner: Erica Cummings, Lucille Brown Middle School, IB Program. Modeled by Miriam Hossaini.
  • gr. 9-12 Winner: Caroline Smith, Glen Allen High School. Modeled by Abigail Burton.
  • gr. 9-12 Runner Up: Morgan Hayes, Henrico High School, Center for the Arts. Modeled by David Sorenson.

Best Interpretation of an Artwork:

  • gr. 6-8 Winner: Iyaana Johnson, Fairfield Middle School. Modeled by Emma Brown.
  • gr. 9-12 Winner: Marcelina Grochulska, Henrico High School. Modeled By Isabel Dixon.
  • gr. 9-12 Runner Up: Annie Ward Love, Douglas Freeman High School. Modeled by Kenique Brown.

Most Wearable:

  • gr. 6-8 Winner: Erica Cummings, Lucille Brown Middle School, IB Program. Modeled by Miriam Hossaini.
  • gr. 9-12 Winner: Kristina Dickey, St. Catherine’s High School. Modeled by Gracie Rebman.
  • gr. 9-12 Runner Up: Ronald Abangan, Open High School. Modeled by Amara Stovall.

Best Male Model:

  • gr. 9-12 Winner Rodes Gardner (Open High School)

Best Female Model:

  • gr. 6-8 Winner: Madeline Walter, Homeschool (Middle School)
  • gr. 9-12 Winner: Alex Munno (Henrico High School)

Best In Show:

  • Dylan Reissner, Henrico High School. Modeled by Reed Gibson.

For information about how to participate in Teen Stylin’ or the VMFA’s other teen programs, go to VMFA.state.va.us or contact Teen Program Coordinator Jessica Bauserman at [email protected]

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