The inspiration for fashion design comes from a limitless number of sources including animals, flowers, and people. But this year, students at Miami International University (MIU) of Art & Design used an American cultural icon for their Swim Week fashion show: McDonald's.
Charlene Parsons, director of fashion for the school, says students were tasked with making swimwear couture using McDonald's burger wrappers, fry boxes, straws, and other materials from the restaurant chain. In total, 7,000 McDonald's sandwich wrappers, 2,800 fry boxes, 2,800 straws, 825 soft drink cups, 225 Happy Meal boxes, 2,900 sandwich boxes,1,000 sriracha sauce lids, and 250 to-go bags were used to create the runway items that ranged from a surfer dude outfit to frilly dresses.
Says Parsons of the students' work, "You can't even imagine what the school looked like. We're talking thousands of wrappers. One design used 150 Filet-O-Fish boxes. Some of the students even used straws to make skirts."
About 40 outfits were made, with 20 selected for the McDCouture Signature Crafted Swim Collection show that kicked off Swim Week. Twenty models walked the runway at the Funkshion Fashion Tent yesterday, clad in red Baywatch-esque swimwear as the base for the students' creations.
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Each piece was judged for uniqueness and wearability, with senior Pablo Machado winning for his fantasy piece that utilized over a thousand sandwich wrappers and 400 fry boxes. Machado not only received a $5,000 scholarship but also valuable recognition. His past design for the 2015 McDonald's fashion show was so well received, it led to an invitation to design a costume for Miss El Salvador at the 2016 Miss Universe pageant, according to Parsons. "Being in the 2015 McDonald's show was a kickoff to a career in fashion."
Parsons says the show, although whimsical, allows students to let their creativity run free. "While a student is in school, it's great for them to get inspired by something. Once you graduate, it's about making a living."
If you're hungry for fashion, the pieces will be on display at the school's gallery (1501 Biscayne Blvd.) for one month starting the first week in August. Check the school's website for gallery hours.