Sense of Fashion: Junk 2 Funk a 'force of nature' - Savannah Morning News

What would you do if someone asked you to take exactly what is in your recycle bin and create something fashionable? Now you might be creative and start to assemble a structure that could be pinned or glued together, but then we tell you it needs to be not only fashionable, but wearable, by a model who needs to be able to cross the stage in your recycled ensemble. This is just the challenge that the design students faced six years ago when the Junk 2 Funk challenge began.

The Junk 2 Funk show, opening next Friday for the first of three showings, is a design show for the creative students of Savannah Arts Academy, created by visual arts instructors Trellis Payne and Meghan Scoggins. The student designers will feature “trash” that has been creatively transformed into more than 70 pieces of uniquely constructed wearable art and avant-garde fashion.

This year’s theme is “Forces of Nature which reportedly will transport the audience to a world of fashion and dance, ruled by the elements of the earth.

“Our young designers, dancers and theatre techs are definitely going to a force to reckon with in the future of fine arts. Earth, wind, fire and rain and all of their many forms will definitely be represented during this year’s show. From innovative sound design, to amazing fashion interpretations of earth elements, this show is by far our most conceptual yet,” Payne said.

The theme for the show was announced at the start of the school year, to give the designers time to prepare. The students started immediately collecting “junk” to start building designs.

As Scoggins told us, “No designer should have to spend money on their materials. I really encouraged the designers to find natural materials in their backyard. They are surrounded by their theme every day, surrounded daily with inspiration.”

Each designer was assigned an element to go with the show, but this is the only direction they were given to get them on their way. Scoggins says the design advice she gives is often “that bigger is better. If they want to be noticed, they need to go bigger. We are a very avant garde show and that is what people expect when they come to Junk 2 Funk. They only have a few seconds for their garment to make a lasting impression.”

We asked two of the designers to tell us how they met the design challenge.


Grade 11

First time Junk 2 Funk designer

Forces of Nature Element: Earth

Describe your design solution and how it works with this year’s theme.

I was assigned at the beginning of the school year to create garments that exhibit qualities of the element earth. I wanted to showcase natural materials such as sticks, bark, and leaves into the design of my garments while contributing to the style of the show through the use of big props and accessories. I feel like the bigger my stuff is, the more memorable I will be to the audience members.

What was the biggest challenge that you faced in your design, and how did you solve it?

Designing pants was the most challenging for me. I initially struggled with applying fragile material to the garment and making it functional at the same time. The use of materials may look great, but if the model can’t move or walk, then you have a major problem.

What was the most creative junk that you chose to include in the design and how did you work with it?

The most unconventional material that I selected for my garments was birch bark. Working with it was quite challenging and required careful consideration on how to place and layer it.

What inspired your design?

My inspiration comes from a variety of sources – tribal, nomadic, and native cultures. These have influenced the construction and aesthetic of my design. Geographic locations such as wooded areas and deserts have also contributed to my color palette.

How do you think this experience has impacted you as an artist working with fashion?

Working with fashion is a totally new experience for me and is as frightening as it is exciting. Learning to create wearable pieces of art while working with many different people has been a great and unique experience that few have the chance to participate in. I feel honored to be a designer in Junk 2 Funk. It has impacted me in many ways such as heightening my awareness of fashion and art, and greatly increasing my respect for those who work in this medium daily.


Grade 10

First time in Junk 2 Funk

Forces of Nature Element: Water

Describe your design solution and how it works with this year’s theme.

When Mrs. Scoggins told us our theme and we started our research, I was immediately drawn to the cool color palette. Since I was mostly inspired by the cooler colors, Mrs. Scoggins and I both knew water would be the best element for me. I immediately started researching the different forms of water and was drawn towards the idea of waterfalls. I wanted my materials, textures, and color choices to reflect the idea of rapids.

What was the biggest challenge that you faced in your design, and how did you solve it?

The biggest challenge that I faced was figuring out what materials to work with that could fully capture my idea. I knew what I wanted the garments to look like, but actually making that come alive and wearable was much more challenging than I ever imagined. It was a lot of trial and error.

What was the most creative junk that you chose to include in the design and how did you work with it?

I used pieces of CDs to translate the reflective attributes of light on water.

What inspired your design?

My theme is water and I was inspired by waterfalls and the way water flows. It can be gently and elegant or rough and aggressive.

How do you think this experience has impacted you as an artist working with fashion?

This experience has been incredible. I have not only learned so much about fashion and 3D art, but also production. The fashion is just one part of this whole experience. Being in the theater and watching the models rehearse and the dancers tell the story of our theme is truly magical. It shows all aspects of our school come together to create this wonderful experience.

The designers have certainly pulled off the challenge this year. The show, in final rehearsal this weekend, promises to be quite a production. Scoggins worked closely with all the designers to execute wearable designs that show off their brilliance.

“Our show takes the audience to this other word, this magical place, and each garment tells a part of the story. I want the person in the last row to be able to see every detail,” says Scoggins.

The event showcases the designer works as well as performances by the Savannah Arts dance department, whose senior dance majors choreograph incredibly innovative numbers for the show.

As Trellis told us, “It may even get a little wild! The Earth will be spinning, the wind will be blowing, the fire will be roaring and the rain will be coming down … all hitting the runway under the roof of Savannah Arts Academy!”

Last year’s show was such a hit that the designers were included in their own segment of the Savannah Fashion Week runway show. This year, Savannah Arts Academy announced a formal partnership with the group behind Savannah’s biggest week in fashion. The partnership will be awarding a yearly scholarship to a deserving student with fashion design in his or her future. In addition to the $1,500 scholarship the recipient will show six looks at Savannah Fashion Week’s final runway show scheduled for May 1 in Forsyth Park. This partnership denotes not only the support for the Junk 2 Funk show by the community, but also speaks to the achievement of the students.

“I’m so proud of the growth and community awareness that has been raised for arts education from our show,” said Trellis Payne.

If you miss out on this amazing celebration of fashion and art (tickets for all three shows are sold out), there will be a Junk 2 Funk Look Book available for purchase. These books are not only inspirational, they may contain the next big fashion designer. The books are $20 each with proceeds going to the Visual Arts Department, which is working to update their technology and photography equipment. But let me tell you, I wouldn’t miss this show for anything. The designs are more than inspired, they are amazing fashion feats that never cease to make us reconsider our style!

Contact Erin Ebert at or go to

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