Read(y) to Wear 2020

Read(y) to Wear 2020

When I first heard of the Read(y) to Wear fashion show in 2019, I was like, "Why aren't WE doing that?" And by 'doing that' I mean creating a runway look made almost entirely from paper. Sounded like a fun Project-Runway-style unconventional materials type of challenge. 

Madison Reading Project has hosted the Read(y) to Wear paper-and-reading inspired fashion show fundraiser since 2017. The funds raised support literacy programs in Madison, Wisconsin and surrounding communities. One of their coolest projects is the Big Red Reading Bus that transports books and other materials to events and schools where kids can pick out books and take them home for free. Fair Indigo has donated Joobles organic stuffed animals to the bus so kids could take home a reading buddy if they so choose. At Fair Indigo we believe in supporting education efforts in the Peruvian communities where our clothing is produced, so supporting literacy programs in our own local community felt like a good fit.

When Madison Reading Project announced the 2020 Read(y) to Wear show's theme A Journey In Time, we were completely on board and came up with a vision/theme for our look almost immediately. The look evolved over the course of several weeks as we determined how to best construct a garment out of paper because - SURPRISE! - this was a brand new venture for us! Paper is malleable, but it is also tearable. Sort of the best and worst of both worlds. Thank goodness for hot glue and packing tape! 

The title of our look is called "Rebirth". The dress is loosely inspired by the Secret Garden and our own wanderings in nature, daydreaming in Nonna's garden or witnessing the cycle of death and rebirth while exploring the forest floor. As a testament to nature, our look utilizes mostly repurposed and found materials.

The final dress was made from the end of a roll of printing press paper from Webcrafters (dress), used tissue paper collected from our friends and coworkers (green, gold, and brown colors), a discarded photography backdrop (white leaves), and kraft paper and cardboard scavenged from Chris Hynes Photo studio (brown leaves and birch bark texture). 

The birch bark texture was by far my favorite element to create - I lightly painted the surface of a cardboard box, then peeled strips off using my fingers and - fun fact - a fork! Then I painted Sobo glue on the bodice of the dress and stuck on the pieces for a gradient effect. The result was a secure but slightly movable dress bodice.

Katie spent hours creating vines and flowers from crepe paper. Katie fills in occasionally as a florist at Daffodil Parker, so this challenge was difficult but right up her alley. The final result was pretty amazing and I'm confident she could make a side-hustle out of creating one-of-a-kind flower arrangements or wedding bouquets if she so chooses (nudge, nudge!). Katie also spent a few hours listening to me freak out about not knowing what I was doing, but like an awesome teammate she just kept encouraging me forward. (Thank you Katie!)

Paper dress making. Well THAT was fun! Super grateful for the opportunity to get out of our creative comfort zone while supporting a wonderful organization. Many thanks to Madison Reading Project for putting on this fun event, to my teammates and all the other lovely teams for inspiring us (and sharing their best tips on how to secure their garments onto models for the runway - spoiler: use twist ties!), and everyone who came to support us and cheer us on. Also thanks to Crimson Sun Studios for the beautiful photos! Until next year!

Stacy Imhoff
Designer + Social Media Marketing Manager, Fair Indigo

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