The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

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Poly Kicks Off New Costume Design Class

Poly’s new Upper School Costume Design class is allowing students to experience the dynamics of costume making. 

Before diving into costume making, Kim Griffin, Middle and Upper School costume designer and the course teacher, kicked off the class with the basics: sewing and stitching. “Their introduction to sewing is with a sewing sampler. And so they’re making a binder of all these different sewing samples, basically exercises… they did it on a small scale, and then they’ll do it on a realized garment.” Griffin adds, “It’s a really good exercise to just dip your toes in and then to actually do it.”

Students appreciate the creativity and new form of art they are expanding further in. 11th Grade student, Stavroula Gabriel, is participating in the Costume Design Class, and expressed her admiration. “It’s definitely something new to Poly. I’ve never had a class like that before, and I’ve been here since nursery,” Gabriel said. 

Before developing a passion for costume design, Griffin had an interest in music. “I thought I was going to be a professional opera singer for the rest of my life. I actually went to college and undergrad for that,” Griffin said. “I had started doing costume stuff in high school with my theater program, and I really enjoyed it… Then in college, I started taking theater classes and costume design courses, and then that’s when I officially decided that’s what I wanted to do.”

Griffin’s dedication to costume design is a big part of why the class has been so successful this year. To assign projects for the students and generally be accomplished in the costumes produced for any production, Griffin must know the “play, musical, opera, dance piece, inside and out.” Griffin added, “I have to know the story just as well as the director and just as well – probably better – than the actors.” The hard work Griffin accomplishes is the example of the big picture she is introducing to the students in her Costume Design class. 

Like Griffin, her students are discovering passions of their own. Loren Bullen, a 10th grade student, has always enjoyed designing, since a very young age. Bullen shared her experience having written, “I’ve loved designing characters ever since I was younger… I wanted an art class that would allow me to continue doing what I loved. I found that designing characters and designing costumes are very similar and that I could also display my artistic abilities when it came to assignments.” There was an opportunity offered to Bullen , allowing her to have a relationship with both school and her individual passions.

One of the projects completed this year was the pop star project, which included designing five looks for any individual pop star. Each student was creative in both the process of making the designs and in the choosing of their pop stars. The range spanned from Taylor Swift to Bruce Springsteen to Playboi Carti, an expression of the artists students appreciate and enjoy listening to. Bullen found an appreciation for this project, and said, “I chose Selena Quintanilla[-Pérez],  and enjoyed researching her old costumes and using those outfits to inspire my designs.” Research on the pop stars was required to gain a full understanding of the techniques the students have been in the process of learning so far this year. 

All of the projects the students will create, lead up to the largest final project of the class: the creation of pajama pants. This intricate garment will incorporate all the knowledge and skills the students will have learned throughout the class. Gabriel explained “We’re just using plain fabrics, but we have to cut everything out, cut the shapes out, sew everything together.” The process of creating something wearable brings a sense of surreality, as the effect of the skills and efforts the students have been partaking in so far have all come down to this realized piece. Bullen added, “It’s exciting to make wearable clothes from scratch and be able to customize them however I want.” 

The Costume Design class has been a great chance for students to connect with their art and grow through the challenges they encounter while completing their projects. Gabriel spoke for herself and her classmates when she said,“Everything we do, it seems impossible at first because I barely ever picked up a needle. But in the end, it feels really cool to see all the progress we’ve made.”

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