Friday, February 8, 2013

The Frisch Fashion Show: Who's the Fairest of Them All?

This past week, the Wednesday night #jedchat discussion touched on learning by failing and learning in real life experiences, both of which are a big part of RealSchool's philosophy (the latter practice is even embedded in our name). Many people have asked us to explain what RealSchool is and it's always a challenge because it encompasses so many things, but the discussion last night has prompted us to try and explain what we do through a real-life example and by revealing the curtain to show Oz, even if it means that some of the things we tell you turn out not to work and not to end up in our final project.

The Frisch Fashion Show

This past week, RealSchool began planning in earnest the second annual fashion show. This year, the theme for the show is "Who's the Fairest of Them All?" and we're focusing on fair food, fair fashion and a fair world. This theme enables almost all of the RealSchool teams to be involved, though admittedly only girls are planning and starring the in show. 

Outline of the Show

At an earlier meeting, we had decided to focus on Biblical women in the fashion show, and during this week's planning session, we decided that each grade would walk the runway twice with presentations by the Frisch dance team and a girls' a capella group interspersed throughout the fashion show. Here's our program so far:

Round 1: four models per grade, with a formal dress as the final piece

Freshmen: Eve and the Foremothers, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah
Clothing: Flowers a la Alexander McQueen and clothing with flower motifs

Dance routine by the dance team: Depiction of Miriam's song by the Red Sea

Sophomores: Egyptian women: Pharoah's daughter; Shifra and Puah
Clothing inspired by ancient Egypt

Juniors: The daughters of Tzlafchad, who petitioned Moses to allow them to inherit their father's land even though they were (gasp!) women
Clothing for the professional woman

Seniors: Biblical female military leaders: Yael and Deborah
Military wear

Military-inspired dance routine

Round 2: four models per grade; the seniors will model only formal wear

Freshmen: Ruth
Clothing with a royal theme, since Ruth is the forerunner of David

Freshmen planning their part of the fashion show

Sophomores: Evil Biblical women: Jezebel, Vashti, et al
Goth clothing

Edgy dance routine

Juniors: Juniors with mothers: We're the inheritors of Biblical women, living chains binding each generation together
Mommy and Me outfits!

Seniors: Esther
A beauty pageant

Seniors discussing what their models should wear

To be decided: When and what the singers are performing


Before the show begins, those attending will be able to view a student-made art exhibit on female oppression and female entrepreneurship that the RealSchool Arts team is creating. On one side of the walls lining the auditorium will be artwork depicting female oppression in the world. (No, we're not afraid to insert some gravity into a fashion show). On the other side of the room will be artwork showing female entrepreneurs. Therefore, the exhibit will show what we still have to do to ensure fair treatment of women and what women are doing to empower themselves and enrich the world with their talents.

The Arts team discovered the work of Kara Walker, a black American artist.
We may imitate her style for some of the art students make for the night.
During the viewing of the exhibit, attendees will also be able to buy fair-trade chocolate, and we also want to have female vendors selling vintage clothing so people can engage in ethical fashion practices by buying "recycled" clothing. We also plan on contacting Frisch female alumni who are artists, so they can show and sell their work at the event. Female jewelry vendors and the like will also be welcome.


We have yet to decide on the charity that part of the event's proceeds will go to. In keeping with the night's theme, we want to give a portion of our proceeds to an organization that works to end female trafficking and sex slave trading. The remainder of the proceeds will go to our school, Frisch.

Our To-Do List

* RealSchool's graphic designer, Karen, is working on a "Who's the Fairest of Them All?" logo for the event, one we can also print on a T-shirt we'll sell.

* We need to write a script for the Finance and Marketing team, so they know what to say to the vendors about the night and the charity we want the proceeds to go to.

* We want to weave commentary about the Biblical women into the fashion show presentation, in order to make the event have more religious purposefulness. RealSchool's Religious Identity team is working on that.

* Each grade's representatives have begun discussing the look for each outfit they want to model. Once the girls have a sense of what they want the outfits to look like, we'll use our contacts to find clothing. 

* Last year, Glam Salon in Englewood, NJ, did the models' hair and make-up. We want to contact them again as well as create student hair and make-up teams for each grade.

We'll keep you updated on our progress as the planning progresses! 

Planning and implementing an event like this shows:

1) students are excited and motivated when they're invested in the learning. We're taking a passion many girls have -- shopping and modelling clothes -- and using it to create a learning experience. Because the base of the learning is a fashion show, the girls are more interested in hearing about topics such as female oppression, female artists and fair trade practices than they would be if we brought those issues up in a regular class.

2) by widening the scope of the show and including opportunities for artists, future businesswomen and those interested in Jewish learning, we can involve more students in the project and create an event that showcases many students' talents and interests and not just one group's. The wide range of interests being combined into one event also allows students to practice an intricate type of collaboration. 

3) students can learn content that they can use in real-life settings. The information the students are learning for the event has an immediate relevance in their lives and gives them something important to consider and remember once they go out into the world. 

4) people want to care about other people. By focusing on fair trade and a fair world in our fashion show, we're taking an event that could be superficial and me-focused and turning it into something that the students can use to help others. We want them to see that they can always use their interests and passions to better the world.