Student Designs Unorthodox Dress Using Panther Prints Newspapers

Filed under: Schools |
Submitted by Panther Prints
Story by  Taylor Harris
Senior Vivianna Reese weaves Panther Prints newspapers together to form a small purse to accompany her dress she designed for the upcoming Recycle and Redesign contest Feb. 8. (Olivia Davila photo)

Usually Panther Prints is on the hunt to showcase the student body. However this time it is Panther Prints being showcased by senior fashion design student Vivianna Ruiz. While students were discarding their used issues of the school paper, Ruiz was collecting them in an effort to acquire enough to create a newspaper dress for the Feb. 10 Recycle and Redesign contest at the Family Career and Community Leaders of America(FCCLA) state event.

“Initially I wanted to make a fairy themed dress and since the contest was for recycle and redesign, newspaper came to mind,” Ruiz said. “Since it was a school project, my teacher gave me the idea to use all Panther Prints newspapers.”

Ruiz combined the newspapers with purple duck tape, hot glue, ribbon and Velcro to make the dress. While making the dress, Ruiz said she continually consulted with advanced fashion design teacher Mary Ellis for advice with the dress.

“She’s a very hard worker, she obviously a hard worker, and she loves what she’s doing in class,” Ellis said. “She came to me when she got stuck on pleating, but she did the flowers and other things all on her own.”

Although this is Ruiz’s first year in the class, she said this is not the first thing she has created in her lifetime.

“Because I’ve never been the athletic type this is just something I have enjoyed doing all my life,” Ruiz said. “I just thought it would be fun to take an advanced sowing class my senior year and now I am headed to the state contest.

Ruiz is not alone in the contest as she has been tossing her ideas around with junior fashion designer Amira Johnson who is currently creating a project using soda pop tops.

“We are always talking to each other about our designs and what we can do to make them better,”Johnson said. “We were nervous, just wondering how we were going to start, how we were going to make our dresses wearable and if we were going to finish by the deadline.”

Ruiz is happy to be finished before the deadline as she admits putting the dress together took about three months including working through her Christmas break.

“I spent many nights in my room looking at the stack of newspapers on my desk and making them into a dress,” Ruiz said. “For a while I was crunching and going through papers thinking I wasn’t going to finish.”

Once the dress was finished Ruiz said she wasn’t as obnoxious to her family and friends as she was while creating the project because she didn’t want anyone to see the product as it was being designed.

“I tried to kick everybody out my room because I didn’t want anybody to see until I was done.” Ruiz said. “I’m really critical of myself, but when I was done my family told me how nice it was and how proud they were.”

Both Ruiz and Johnson are looking forward to hearing the final results of the contest.

“I’m hoping we both place in the top six,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, one of us will win the whole contest.”

Although the measurements of the dress appear to match the size of Ruiz, she said she has not tried to squeeze into her own design yet.

“This is my own little baby,” Ruiz said. “I’m too anxious about the contest right now, so I probably won’t try to slip it on until the contest is over.”