Sharon Mai: Bringing you the news in style

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Photo by Samiha Ali

JUNIOR JOLENE MAI models her sister, Sharon Mai’s, creation.

Most people get rid of old newspapers by tossing them in a recycling bin, but senior Sharon Mai has a more creative approach. Over the past few months, Mai has created three life-size dresses out of old newspapers.

“It was a continual project that I had left behind in my AP 3-D design class back in Florida. I made the dresses for the AP 3-D studio art portfolio,” Mai said.

Once Mai knew that she wanted dresses to be the main feature of her portfolio, she looked to various fashion designers for creative inspiration.

“The dresses were mainly inspired by a famous designer named Zuhair Murad,” Mai said. “His ultra expensive, yet breathless dresses inspired me to design dresses that are fabulous, yet made out of materials that aren’t considered high-end, such as newspaper.”

Surprisingly, the most challenging task in creating the dresses was not assembling all of the materials, but actually planning how to design the dresses.

“The hardest part was choosing the style of the dress,” Mai said. “It was difficult to arrange one of the dresses’ design placements that would give them an overall abstract, expressive look while not sacrificing the balance and proportions.”

Assembling the dresses was a careful process, as there were many steps involved to ensure that the dress could stand upright instead of limping over. To ease this problem, Mai used her sister as a model.

“The process included lots of prepping because the upper top of the dress had to be made onto the person wearing it to assure it was the right size and a solid four days of making the flares at the ends,” Mai said. “It was all parts of the dresses coming together for a final gown.”

Though creating the three dresses required the same attention to detail, the timespan in creating them varied.

“[The time] ranged from two days to four weeks,” Mai said. “The dress that took a whole month was made during a stressful time of tests. It doesn’t take long, but it takes a lot of effort and commitment.”

Aside from designing dresses, Mai has explored various other fields of artmaking such as wheel throwing and pottery. Though her future projects may not involve dresses or newspapers, Mai hopes to continue with her artistic passions.

“I absolutely love art. It’s my stress reliever and a reminder of how sometimes coloring outsides of the lines is a good thing,” Mai said.