photos of the wearable art dresses made of tyres and natural fibres

Making a ‘fashion statement’ on human rights

August 02, 2005

Originally published in the Timaru Herald

Peace and oppression have started making their way up the country to Auckland.

They are Mountainview High Schools’ two entries in the Amnesty International Fashion Show, to be held at Epsom Girls Grammar School during Freedom Week from August 1 to August 7.

Both garments were sent off this week to the organisers.

Mountainview High School Amnesty International Group organiser Rae Mecchia said she was approached by event organiser Vivian Ong to see if textile students had “human-rights related garments” that could be used in the fundraiser during Freedom Week.

Mrs Mecchia in turn approached textiles technology teacher Barbara Faith, and two of her pupils jumped at the opportunity to send away their garments.

“I talked to the class about Amnesty International and the work they do. It got the girls talking and they really wanted to contribute something,” Mrs Faith said. Year 12 student Tegan Collings (16) has sent away her garment, entitled Oppression.

Oppression is made out of bicycle tyres and tubing and she began making it when she was a student at Pleasant Point High School last year.

Since then it has won two wearable arts awards and seemed perfect to go to the fashion show.

“I had entered it in wearable arts and now it is going away for Amnesty,” Tegan said.

“The weaving of the tyres was the hardest thing about the garment. I got the tyres for free from a bike shop.”

Tegan’s garment was in direct contrast to year 13 pupil Sonya Morris’ entry, Peace.

Made out of natural fibres such as flax, and paua shell, the garment embodies freedom and peace.

Mrs Faith said she was “very supportive” of the pupils sending their work away for the great event.

“I am always amazed by the creativity of the students. They come along to school with these great ideas and plans to make them happen.

“School has an impact on your later life and it is good for them to be exposed to the work of Amnesty International, so maybe they can continue to be involved when they are older.”

Mrs Mecchia said the focus for Amnesty International this year was the illegal arms trade.

“Every year more than half a million people are killed by armed violence.”

“Amnesty International are campaigning for a global arms trade treaty to bring the trade in weapons under control.”

The school will take part in the Million Faces Petition, where pupils are digitally photographed or, if they are under 16 years old, draw a self-portrait.

The photos from around the world will be used to form a giant banner to be presented to the United Nations in support of an arms trade treaty.

The Mountainview High School Amnesty Group was happy the school would be represented in the Million Faces petition and the fashion show in Auckland.

“The timeline was short to get the garments ready, so it was a matter of what was available and everyone has done a great job,” Mrs Mecchia said.