Independent Arts in Newport has invited Fashion and Textiles BTEC students at The Island VI Form to showcase their spectacular ballgowns, designed and made for their final major project, as an exhibition and runway fundraising event.

The Ballgown project incorporates imagination, high technical skills, innovation and individual personality. Each gown is made for a specific person in mind and derived from a choice of exciting and diverse thematic approaches. The brief determined that the fabrics were to be reclaimed or sustainably sourced as a direct response to the enormous waste and exploitation associated with the fashion industry.

The late Alexander McQueen was the inspiration behind the project – in particular his originality, bravery, rebellion and technique.

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Kerry Tindall, Programmes Manager at Independent Arts, says:

“Independent Arts are thrilled to be able to give young students from The Island VI Form the opportunity to showcase their amazing designs. We were so impressed by the students who exhibited their work earlier this year. The professionalism and the general buzz they brought to their opening night was wonderful”.

Natalie Bracegirdle, Head of Faculty at The Island VI Form stated:

“The students’ fashion work is not just about fabric and trends; it’s a bold expression of creativity and individuality. Each design, each stitch, tells a story of innovation and passion, reflecting the bright future that each of our students will go on to have.

“This is the first time that ballgowns have featured as part of the course outcomes, bringing fresh perspectives and innovative approaches which has enhanced the learning experience, inspiring students to create these exceptional, individual responses to the brief. Many thanks go to Abby Wilkinson and Sarah Cox for their determination and commitment to helping all students realise their designs.

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“Independent Arts’ have been a source of invaluable support to our students. Their work with young people is an important area of the charity’s mission and Arts Lab offers free weekly sessions for young people aged 12-18 to explore their creativity through a variety of disciplines. This can benefit mental health by reducing stress, improving mood, enhancing coping skills, and increasing self-esteem”.

The exhibition runs from 27th June – 9th July daily at Independent Arts, High Street, Newport. The runway fundraising event is to be held on 26th June, 18:00-20:00, by invitation only.

It is hoped that this event will raise vital funds for Independent Arts. You can show your support by donating at

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