Fashion design students launched their creative energies to transform airline discards into wearable chic–and travelers at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago get to vote for their fave!
It’s a fun and thoughtful way for you to pass some time while awaiting your next flight.
Now in its second year, “Fashion Packed Challenge” is similar to the quirky challenges given to rising fashion designers on the hit TV show, “Project Runway.”
Twelve students from Columbia College Chicago were given just seconds at the kickoff event on Sept. 13 to grab from piles of used banners, blankets, flags, safety vests, pillows, headrest covers, shirts, seat belts, flags and other textiles from airlines that service O’Hare. Airport retailers also donated accessory items such as jewelry, scarves, handbags and cosmetics to help inspire the students’ designs.
The students then had a fast-paced two weeks to design and make a winning garment from the remnants. That’s in addition to the other classes they take to earn their bachelor’s degrees from the four-year arts-and-media college. The 2017 competitors upcycled theirs into wearable dresses, pants, cocktail wear, jackets and coats.
“It’s amazing to see how inventive the students are with these discarded scraps and recycled materials,” says Xochil Herrera Scheer, regional director at The Fashion Group International of Chicago and one of the challenge judges. “The challenge gives them some design real-world experience, which we love to support, and the opportunity to compete against their peers. We encourage O’Hare travelers to take a few minutes to appreciate the students’ hard work and to support them with their votes.”
The winner will be determined by a combination of votes from the public and a panel of fashion industry professionals. Top prize is a trophy, round-trip airfare and payment for the garment. All participants are given a professional dress form.
The goals of the Fashion Packed Challenge are to support youth activities and the airport concessionaires and also to engage and entertain O’Hare travelers, says Marc Wright, project administrator for concessions at the Chicago Department of Aviation.
“The biggest thing when travelers walk in the door is making sure they make their flight,” he says. “Because of long lines in the past, people are generally getting here a little earlier than they need to. We want to have a good product–entertainment, restaurants and shopping–for them while they are waiting.”
Cast your ballot any time between Friday, Sept. 28, and Thursday, Oct. 25. Each week, the 12 garments will be moved to a different location around the airport. Here is where you can find them:
Sept. 28 to Oct. 4: Terminal 5, beyond Security
Oct. 5 to Oct. 11: Terminal 3, near gate M10
Oct. 12 to Oct. 18: Terminal 1 near Gate B12
Oct. 19 to 25: Terminal 2 at the Butch O’Hare Exhibit
View the 2018 Fashion Packed Challenge entries and vote here even if you’re not at O’Hare. Voting ends at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25.
The final live judging and winner announcement will take place on Friday, Oct. 26, at 11 a.m. in Terminal 2 at the Butch O’Hare Exhibit.
Fashion Packed Challenge is sponsored by the Chicago Department of Aviation and its partner airlines and retailers. The Fashion Group International of Chicago is providing mentoring, judging and promotional support.
Watch a video about the 2017 Fashion Packed Challenge.
(Thank you to the City of Chicago Department of Aviation for use of the feature photo of the 2017 Fashion Packed Challenge entries.)