10 Fashion Passion Project Ideas for High School Students
5 minute read
Fashion plays a pivotal role in society, beyond just the realm of clothing for everyday use. It serves as a form of self-expression, allowing individuals to convey their identity, creativity, and cultural affiliations. Beyond personal style, fashion can be a powerful tool for social and cultural commentary, reflecting the values, trends, and movements of society at any given time. Moreover, the global fashion industry is a major economic force, influencing production and consumption patterns worldwide.
For many teens, it may be difficult to study fashion in a traditional school setting due to lack of opportunities. Many high schools do not offer fashion classes and there may be limited resources to explore the field. As a result, pursuing a fashion passion project as a high schooler can be a great way to take initiative and gain exposure to the topic on your own.
For fashion passion projects specifically, you have the unique opportunity to create a physical, hands-on product. For example, Lydia’s project was to recreate a historical dress shown in an old painting, using similar materials and sewing techniques from that time period. This kind of project involves extensive research and prior knowledge of sewing, which can make it a bit challenging. But if you have the technical skills to create an original piece of clothing, this could definitely be a great type of project to pursue.
If you’re less interested in hands-on work, there’s always the option of researching a topic within fashion and finding your own unique perspective on it. Within fashion, there are many subtopics, like fashion ethics, sustainable fashion, luxury fashion vs. budget fashion, etc. The best way to find a project focus is just to think about what interests you the most! What kinds of fashion do you gravitate towards?
1. Upcycled product prototype
This project would explore sustainable manufacturing and production methods as it applies to fashion, accessories, or home goods. To start, you’ll research different ideas of recycling and up-cycling as strategies for making sustainable products. Then, look at all the components of product design and development–materials, supply chain, production, and construction–through these sustainable lenses. To take it a step further, you could formulate a method for making a new, scalable and sustainably made object/product.
Idea by fashion research mentor Allison
2. The intersection of fashion and history
We may think we know the styles of the 1970s or of the 1920s, but do we really? Can we note the difference between the 1970s in London or New York City versus a small town in Illinois; or between different social groups or subcultures? Costume designers and fashion historians must meticulously research and distill to know exactly when a photograph was taken or to confirm the origin of a garment. In this project, you can begin to learn these same techniques by observing things like quality and style of clothing, fabric, fit, socio-economic influences, as well as political and war-time changes. The changing fashion of hairstyles and makeup could be evaluated too. Further, learn about how to accurately decipher and document status in dress. Whether it’s the difference between a Civil War Brigadier General and a member of the Company or an 1850s woman of privilege versus her maid, there are many exciting nuances and vast distinctions to explore in status.
Idea by fashion research mentor Desira
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3. Fashion brand concept
Develop a concept for your own fashion brand, including branding, logo design, and a business plan. Think through critical aspects of your brand, like what clothing types you’ll sell, your target demographic, your pricing and marketing, and how you’ll manage your online presence vs. brick and mortar. You can even take it a step further by designing a prototype fashion collection for your brand.
4. Fashion photography
Explore fashion photography by styling and photographing your own fashion shoots. Learn about lighting, composition, and editing to create stunning fashion images. Here’s a primer on fashion photography to get you started.
5. Clothing swap event
Organize a clothing swap event at your school or in your community, where people bring gently used clothing to exchange with others. This allows you to form a community of people who are interested in fashion and also gives you valuable experience in event planning. You’ll not only have to first plan where and when you’ll host the event, but you’ll also find creative ways to market the event and make sure that people know about it. Be sure to document your process for planning the event and highlights from the event itself!
6. DIY fashion blog/vlog
Start a written blog or YouTube channel where you document your personal fashion journey. You can explore content ideas like tutorials on how to create unique clothing items, style tips, and fashion inspiration. This project will help strengthen your understanding of fashion and also allow you to learn from others as you begin to build a following. You can also gain key business experience in learning how to serve and engage an audience and get traction on a content platform.
7. Sustainable fabric exploration
Research and experiment with sustainable fabric options, such as organic cotton, hemp, or Tencel. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? How do these materials compare to what’s commonly used in the industry today? Discuss how practical it would be for a reputable fashion brand to switch to more sustainable fabric options, and how that could potentially benefit the brand.
8. Fashion and wearable tech
Explore the intersection of fashion and technology by analyzing the market for wearable tech accessories. How do these accessories balance function with aesthetic? What makes them visually appealing or unappealing?
9. Virtual styling consultations
If you’re feeling up for an entrepreneurial challenge and you’re confident in your fashion sense, offer virtual styling consultations to friends and classmates. Help them put together outfits and share your expertise with them. After doing your first several consultations, think about how to grow your business and reach new customers.
10. Community fashion show
Organize a fashion show featuring clothing and accessories created by local designers, which can include yourself and your peers. This can also be turned into a fundraiser for a charitable cause!
Showcasing your fashion passion project after you’ve completed your research is a very important step of the process. Showcasing is how you let your project shine and allows you to share your success with a larger audience. There are many possible ways that you can showcase your work.
For the projects that are more research and history oriented, you can explore showcasing options like publishing a paper in a journal or creating a presentation. For projects where you’re creating a piece of work like photos or clothing, you may want to consider options like creating a website or digital portfolio where your finished work can live. Finally, for projects where you’re organizing an event, don’t assume that the event itself is sufficient for showcasing your work. Make sure you find ways to document the process it took to make the event happen, whether that’s through vlogging, journaling, or taking photos at key milestones. This will really help bring your event’s story to life!
In addition to Lydia’s project mentioned above, other Polygence students have completed passion projects related to fashion. We’ll highlight two of their fashion research projects here:
Sianna created a fashion magazine that showcased 10 unique dresses for different social occasions. For each dress, Sianna created a sketch of the dress and pictures of the fabrics that you could use to make it.
Alexia took a more historical approach and investigated fashion styles from the 1850s-1890s. Alexia learned to create technical drawings of the garments and also conducted research into the materials that would’ve been used for the garments. In the end, Alexia designed a set of costumes based on her research in 19th century fashion.
In this article, we covered how to find your fashion passion project focus, shared ideas for fashion passion projects, and discussed how to showcase your unique project.
If you are interested in fashion and would like to explore it further by pursuing a passion project, Polygence’s programs are a great place to start. You’ll be able to meet virtually one-on-one with a fashion research mentor who can help you learn new skills and guide you in your research.
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