Young designers prepare to debut outfits made from recycled materials for the fashion show on Sept. 23.
Avery Cole is a budding fashion designer who finds inspiration in his everyday surroundings.
His twin brother, Kennedy, is inspired by architecture. The 8-year-old siblings are joining 19 other young designers for Art Center Sarasota’s third annual iconcept jr., a fashion show fundraiser that takes place Sept. 23 at the center.
Participants, who range in age from 8 to 14, will showcase outfits they designed using unconventional and recycled materials. The designers typically model their own creations, but the Coles will be wearing each other’s designs.
Avery Cole’s design is a vest and hat made of newspaper, duct tape and playing cards.
“The idea came from walking around the park and seeing people reading newspapers and playing cards,” Cole said.
Kennedy Cole’s outfit was inspired by a recent trip abroad. His elaborate hat made of straws was designed to look like the top of the Marina Sand Bay building in Singapore. He said he was no stranger to his material. The designer enjoys using straws to fashion replicas of baseball stadiums and city skylines.
This is the first time the twins are participating in the fashion show, but other designers, like Tara Torehan, are iconcept jr. veterans who have designed an outfit each year.
“It’s a really fun opportunity,” Torehan said. “I like the idea of being able to create something on my own.”
Cyan Barrett is another participant with a passion for design. The 8-year-old has been making arts and crafts since she can remember. Barrett designed a necklace out of paint brushes and shoes composed of crayons. She said the most challenging part was using acrylic paint to create a mesmerizing pattern on the dress, but she is looking forward to seeing everything come together for the final show.
The designers created their outfits at home or put them together during Fashion Bootcamp, the center’s fashion design summer camp. Art Center Sarasota Executive Director Lisa Berger said the camp was so popular, the center is planning to offer Fashion Bootcamp during the school year as well.
“What I hope the participants get out of iconcept jr. is self-confidence and the chance to use their creativity and problem-solving skills,” Berger said. “They get to show off their hard work to their parents and the community. It’s a great thing for them because no one else is offering an opportunity like this. It’s a unique event we hope keeps growing.”