Altos de Chavon

Visualizing the New in the Old: Chavón’s Fashion Students ‘Reshape the Future’

Chavón School of Design Santo Domingo
Alexander Villavizar

The Altos de Chavón School of Design distinguishes itself by extraordinary talent, noticeable throughout the year in student projects, presentations, community initiatives and involvement. It is made even more apparent at the culmination of their term when we can witness their final collections and what they have been building towards throughout the year. The students of Fashion Design, Communications, and Fine Arts exhibited their work in the school’s Santo Domingo campus last week under the name, “Chavoneros 2017”.

Chavón School of Design Santo Domingo

Entering the large foyer of the just-a-year old campus, guests and families of students along with prominent members of the fashion community, including Jose Jhan who spoke at the school’s graduation, were drawn into a display entitled “Reshaping the Future”. Described as giving clothing “a second chance at life,” designs did just that as they incorporated recycled materials and second-hand textiles. Most remarkable was the use of odd components like computer parts, plastic tubes, and cables that added a message behind each look. Outfits ranged from wearable dresses and jumpsuits to blouses and jackets that spoke volumes in terms of environmentalism and humanitarianism. 

Chavón School of Design Santo DomingoMaría Antonia Valdés communicated that construction is destroying the planet with a very fashionable skirt and halter top in cheesecloth with Larimar stones; Rosalía Paulino used recycled waste from broken computer parts no longer in use for a shift dress; and Magaly Tiburcio weaved medical tubes from hospitals in an intricate, futuristic design. Already an established designer in the city, Magaly proved reinvigorating one’s inspiration through Chavón courses is always a good idea.

Second-hand clothing became the inspiration for students Loraine Mejía, Argeni García, Georgia Vásquez, and Emely Fanfán – the latter of which revamped men’s dress shirts in a design that would no doubt attract the likes of New York brand, Monse. One of my personal favorites was by Rossana Tenia who elaborated a leather jumpsuit with a plastic jacket and face mask as a statement on abuse against women with acid. I admired it along with esteemed public fashion figure Socrates Mckinney, who was also quick to point out his preference for Nabila Elías’ standout white dress in neoprene and plastic.

As a supplement to the exhibition, the students’ full collection could be viewed digitally on computers which gave an impressive insight into their work in illustration, computer-aided design, and building a storyboard. Karla Dipuglia, who meticulously pieced together women’s pantyhose as a statement on gender equality, says she looks forward to doing more work over the summer before Dominicana Moda!

Chavón School of Design Santo Domingo

Thrilled to see the display realized for the community, director of the Fashion Design department, Marina Spadafora noted: “This work is the result of a deep soul-searching journey into the meaning of sustainability and beauty that every student has taken for this past year in Chavón.” Throughout the campus, attendees could meander and view work by the Communications Department and a selection by the Fine Arts students — whose main exhibition remained open in The Gallery in Altos de Chavón following graduation. It is clear with each year the School of Design cements itself among the highest art and design institutions, graduating the most talented students. The exhibition will remain open in the Santo Domingo campus throughout June and July.

The following pictures were taken by Alexander Villavizar on Tuesday, May 16th at the Altos de Chavón School of Design’s final exhibition “Chavonero 2017”:

THE ALTOS DE CHAVÓN CULTURAL CENTER FOUNDATION

The Altos de Chavón Cultural Center Foundation, located in Dominican Republic, is a non-profit cultural and educational institution. Since 1983, it has been dedicated to the creation of a multifaceted arts community that includes visual arts, crafts workshops, performing arts and teaching programs.

With its other components—The Regional Museum of Archaeology, the Artists in Residence program, The Gallery, and The School of Design—The Foundation has contributed to the enrichment of the intellectual, artistic, and cultural panorama of the Dominican Republic for more than 30 years.

The Foundation’s work has reached many, with impressive results. Its diverse educational and arts programs, gives Altos de Chavón the cultural dynamism that nourishes and stimulates the creativity of the designers and artists of today and tomorrow.

In 2013, The Altos de Chavón Cultural Center Foundation celebrated 30 years of continuous and invaluable contributions to art and culture in the Dominican Republic giving each artist the opportunity to find their individual expression through constant research and development.

CHAVÓN | SCHOOL OF DESIGN

Chavón Santo DomingoFounded in 1983, The Altos de Chavón School of Design offers careers in applied arts in the areas of Fine Arts, Visual Communication and Fashion. This type of intensive two-year program provides the graduates with an associate degree at a technical level, which provides them with a solid education that enables participants to compete as professionals in the field of design and arts both locally and internationally.

Graduates of the School of Design are eligible to transfer directly to Parsons School of Design in New York. More than 2,000 Dominicans and students from around the world have graduated from the School of Design, demonstrating that a solid background in design, parallel to an emphasis on the development of the industry is the best formula for a successful career.

The highly practical and market-oriented curriculum, provides students with a unique set of skills that allows them to be easily inserted into the work environment.

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