Teens put their heads together over helmeted entry in Art to Wear show

They say two heads are better than one, and ten weeks out from Raglan’s Art to Wear extravaganza budding fashionistas Charlie Irvin and Sven Seddon are already getting theirs around what their joint entry might look like.

And coincidentally the two 14 year olds are planning “a whole helmet idea” for the Time Travel category of the biennial event, one that packs out the town hall for both its matinee and evening shows.

“The rest will follow,” says Charlie of the complete costume that’s taking shape in her head. It will not be like a stereotypical time machine, she insists, but “a virtual thing like the internet where you travel through people’s memory”.

Charlie’s already an old hand on the catwalk, having featured in just about every Raglan Art To Wear show since the age of four. She dressed back then in recycled plastic bags as a mythical red-haired blue-eyed patupaiarehe – a fairylike creature of Maori folklore.

Now she both designs and models her own costumes, and looks forward to the event which plays to sellout audiences. “I think it’s a really good way to bring the community together,” she says. “Raglan is known for art and creativity; also it’s real fun to make your own costume.”

Sven sees the event as a chance to play it cool on stage without looking “a total dweeb”.  He remembers appearing as ‘The Boxer’ in the 2014 Art To Wear, when he and friend Lennox Reynolds sported arms and legs covered in cardboard boxes.

Two years earlier he was a kea with wings that actually folded up.

Sven’s strength – hopefully – is the technical ability to turn what Charlie envisages into a reality. The pair were talking to Art To Wear organiser Jean Carbon recently when they  came up with the idea of a collaborative costume effort, deciding to “put some designs down (on paper) after school.”

They’re both year 10s at Raglan Area School,  where Charlie completed last year a “passion project” focusing on a 2014 Art To Wear entrant, taxidermist Annick Faubert, whose feathered creation ‘Reverence’ was placed second in the supreme award.

“It was my favourite costume.” she enthuses.

Jean’s quietly hoping others besides Charlie and Sven are now “getting inventive” for the upcoming event. “People need time to think about the sections,” says the longtime local fibre artist. “They need to look at possibilities and concepts before gathering materials.”

The show is deliberately planned for winter to attract visitors to town when it’s quiet, but is also so popular – with the 150-odd tickets normally gone the first morning on sale – that many people are left disappointed.

Now on Facebook a red carpet live stream to the Old School in Stewart Street has been floated as a way of allowing more people to view simultaneously the two Saturday shows.

Edith Symes

*Raglan Art To Wear will be held in the town hall on Saturday June 4 at 2pm and 7pm.

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