No longer a pastime among fashion designers, the use of unusual materials to create garments is more than a fad.

Climate change and the amount of plastic and other pollutants filling our waterways are a major danger to our global ecosystem.

Designers interested in alternative fabrics and materials continue to grow creating a global movement filled with ingenuity and creativity, and that is what The Unusual Dress Project will be showcasing on April 20 during the Savannah Earth Day Festival at Daffin Park.

“What started as a last-minute photography project has turned into a community outreach program,” said Tera Jones, the creator and organizer. “We are now mentoring youth and encouraging creativity, fashion design, and recycling.


“This is our second year for the Unusual Dress Project,” Jones said. “In our first year (2018) we had 11 dress; 2019 has been a bit more ambitious. Throughout the year, we have been attending local festivals and events to promote and spread the word about our project.

“We have adopted an after-school program at Garrison School of the Arts, and we are working with two local Girl Scout Troops to help them make and model their own creations. We have 33 people completing outfits in time for the Earth Day Fashion Show. We have also increased our project sponsors to 10 this year.”

The fashion show will be comprised of designers and models of all ages. Three of the youngest designers and models are the Hawkins sisters. Jaylyn Hawkins, 10, Martha Hawkins, 11, and Linda Hawkins, 12.

Martha Hawkins will be modeling a dress made by Megan Williams. It is made from upholstery scraps that were donated to the project. The upholstery dress is for sale to help with costs of the project.

Linda Hawkins’ dress is made from a party bag and foam beads. Jaylyn’s dress was constructed out of artificial flowers, gift bows, foam hearts and a broken necklace. “My favorite part of the dress is being a model and making the dress,” Jaylyn said about the project.

“Unusual Dress Fashion Show is a community centered project striving to connect youth to outlets for their creativity, broaden the minds of local families and individuals using recycled materials, and expand the communication and relationships between community members,” Jones said.

“Our goal with the project is to inspire people to be creative, to think outside the box, and to see items that might be laying around their house in a different way. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or need to be an artist to create a masterpiece. Have fun with it, experiment and try something unique. You can join the movement in many ways. Whether you are donating, creating and or sponsoring, we want Savannah locals to be a part of the project.”