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Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

The toilet paper bride

Peyton Stagliano
While these dresses may not look much different than any other dress, they are made out of a very unique type of material.

With glistening eyes and a dream in their heart, every little girl anticipates the day she will get to say “Yes” to her own wedding dress. She hopes for a dress meticulously designed out of silk, lace, or… toilet paper? Well, maybe not toilet paper. While a toilet paper dress may not be what most girls hope to wear down the aisle, North Penn clothing design students are here to change that.    

You may have seen them as you pass through the hallways making your way from K-pod to E-pod. They hang from the mannequins with their bright white color exposed against the dull walls of North Penn. If you aren’t sure what I am talking about, I am talking about the beautiful white wedding dresses found outside room F130. While hundreds of North Penn students pass by these dresses every day on their way to class, very few know anything about the dresses themselves. 

As many know, North Penn offers a variety of different classes that allow students to be creative and dabble in possible future careers. One of the many classes that North Penn provides is Clothing Design. In the class, teacher Joelle Townsend encourages her students to not only get creative but also to work together to come up with new innovative ideas. For instance, this particular project challenges students to work together to create a wedding dress that shows a combination of their own unique styles. However, to make it even more challenging, there is a twist. Each group must assemble the dresses using only five materials which include pins, tape, glue, staples, and most importantly toilet paper. 

“We do this project for many reasons,” Townsend stated. “I want my students to learn how to be creative while being limited with what materials they can use. I also want them to gain confidence in their artistic ability and to find their own unique style while developing the skill of working together”. 

Once the students completed the dresses they were each given the opportunity to participate in a Gallary Walk where they could see everyone’s dresses and leave positive critiques. Then the students were able to vote for their favorite dress to determine which group created the best dress. 

“I think it is important for the students to do the Gallery Walk because much of the design elements are very tedious and intricate and are worth a visual study,” Townsend shared. 

After the voting was completed, the winners of this year’s wedding dress contest were Josie Grebis, Ace Keesler, and Isaiah Nanthavaong. While these students demonstrated the ability to work to bring their ideas together, each of their unique styles really shined in the dress to give it a very untraditional spin.  

“Josie’s inspiration was a mystical forest fairytale theme and my inspiration came from more of a romantic, gothic, red-and-black vibe,” Keesler shared. “We started by making a mood board of a bunch of things we would want for a wedding design. For example, we sketched out cakes, decorations, groomsmen’s outfits, etc. That allowed us to put everything together so we had a base”. 

After completing the meticulous planning process, Kessler’s group got right to the difficult part of the project- fashioning toilet paper into a dress. 

“After coming up with a design for the dress we slowly began pinning the toilet paper to the mannequin using different techniques. We folded it to create ruffles and even sewed some of it rather than pinning it to create that ruffled effect,” Keesler explained. “It took a lot of layering to make sure it looked like a real dress”. 

For some students, the most difficult part of the project was determining a design without clashing with the other members of the group. But most students agreed that the most difficult part was fashioning the toilet paper. 

“Toilet paper is really annoying because it rips and is really thin,” Advanced Fashion Design student Julia Capisani Hughes shared. “This project gives a lot of creative liberty because there is no pattern or anything, you can do whatever you want. Sometimes it can be difficult since you are in a group because there can be conflicts of interest, but in my group, we all worked really well together”. 

Keesler’s group tried to take a unique approach when designing the dress as a way to give a little flare that helped their dress stand out and look a little less like toilet paper. 

“In my dress, we really took advantage of the different textures and designs that were already on the toilet paper. You wouldn’t usually think this deeply about toilet paper,” Keesler stated with a chuckle.  

Similarly, Hughes’s group tried to make their dress a little more eccentric, but in a different way. Rather than focusing on the dress itself, her group focused on the accessory details. 

“In my group, we added a little heart necklace that was red just to give it a little pop of color. It just helps add more detail,” Hughes shared. 

As the end of the competition loomed near, Keesler, Grebis, and Nanthavaong weren’t sure if their group could pull off the win. However, everything was solidified in their minds the moment they saw the tiny crown. 

“I definitely didn’t expect to win. I thought that our dress was one of the good ones and I knew it made it into the final voting rounds but I didn’t think it was going to win,” Keesler expressed. “It was such a surprise when I went into the classroom and there was a little crown on our mannequin to show we had won”.  

While Keesler may have held the dress to lower standards, the rest of the class certainly didn’t do the same. 

“From an outsider’s perspective, I thought Ace’s group, their dress was very neat and didn’t get crinkly from the toilet paper. The design was very good and symmetrical,” Hughes shared. 

Both Keesler and Hughes couldn’t say enough good things about the project, Ms. Townsend, and the class itself. 

“This is such a great project and Ms. Townsend is the greatest. I feel like I have never met a teacher quite like her. She is just very nice and has a lot of mom energy,” Keesler raved. “She knows what she wants and she knows what she wants for us too”. 

Keesler also expressed his love for fashion design and how this class will help him throughout life. 

“I think something really cool about getting to design your own outfits is you feel very original and very fulfilled. You know that no one else in the world has that outfit,” Keesler explained. “As an artist, I think fashion will help me in my everyday life just to be able to create things and bring things to life”. 

Keesler and Hughes are very proud of the dresses their groups were able to assemble and are excited for their peers to see them when they pass by the display case by F130. Make sure to keep an eye out for the dresses all year long as different dresses rotate through the case. Currently, the theme in the display case is Under the Sea, but you can expect to see two other themes, Tangled and Stain Glass, presented later in the year.

The winning dress designed and created by Ace Keesler, Isaah Nanthavong, and Josie Grebis highlights a more mid-evil style with hints of mystical fairy. (Peyton Stagliano)
The winning dress designed and created by Ace Keesler, Isaah Nanthavong, and Josie Grebis highlights a more mid-evil style with hints of mystical fairy. (Peyton Stagliano)
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    Debra SnyderOct 28, 2023 at 8:15 am

    Thank you for featuring this creative project! I really enjoyed seeing the beautiful dresses the girls created. Kudos to Ms. Townsend. Fantastic!