Wait. Before you put on your homecoming dress, I need to finish reading it.
When 16-year-old Stephanie Green takes to the dance floor at Culver City High School’s homecoming dance on Saturday, her dress is bound to get more than a few double-takes. The eco-conscious teen made it herself from salvaged newspapers, donated by neighbors. With its flattering, strapless design featuring a peplum and ruffled layers, the dress looks chic, didn’t cost much and makes a statement about recycling.
All the Rage was intrigued. (Besides loving fashion, we always like the idea of showing people how useful a newspaper can be.) We asked Stephanie to elaborate a bit.
ATR: Your homecoming dress is composed completely out of donated newspapers from neighbors. How did you come up with the idea?
SG: It came to me while building the CCHS Robotics Haunted House. We were using newspaper to stuff dummies. A friend was reading the Sunday paper and when I looked at its size I thought, “Wow, that’s a large amount!” I felt the paper to see how sturdy it was and liked its texture. I started pleating my skirt, adding more layers. My final step was making the top. Since I had absolutely no time to go and buy a new dress that fit properly, I came up with this cost efficient and environmentally friendly way to attend the dance.
ATR: Your design is as cute as the John Galliano for Dior newspaper dress (Sarah Jessica Parker sported a fabric version in Season 3 of "Sex and the City"). And, it’s certainly more affordable. Are you trying to convey the message that you can look sleek without the steep prices?
SG: Absolutely. There are so many materials out there you can reuse. I’m even thinking of recycling my old Target bags into a dress.
ATR: How did you construct the dress?
SG: I started with a single roll of packing tape and about five L.A. Times Sunday issues. I continued with approximately the same amount of newspaper from several other cities. I used so much paper it’s hard for me to tell.
ATR: Is the dress really hardy enough for dancing? Or will a tear here and there simply make the piece funkier?
SG: Well there is always the possibility of tearing. So as a backup, I’m bringing a roll of packing tape to the dance.
Stephanie has previous experience with paper clothes: she also made her Halloween Cruella de Vil Halloween costume from newspaper. That one was laminated, so no chance of rips, she says.
We'll be curious to see what's next.
-- Julie Neigher
Photo: Stephanie Green in her homecoming dress. Courtesy of Stephanie Green.