17-year-old Karolina Montes and 16-year-old Zoe Balestri stunned while making a powerful statement during their school’s fashion show.
According to BuzzFeed, students at Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx hold a fashion show of handmade designs every year. As if this task wasn’t hard enough, they’re not allowed to use any fabric in their designs.
Armed with a needle, thread, and a disdain for Donald Trump’s plan to defund Planned Parenthood, Montes and Balestri created these statement-making dresses for the runway out of Planned Parenthood merchandise.
“This year we thought after everything that’s been happening in the world and with this country, it was important to make our dresses beautiful and fun but also to give them some sort of meaning,” Balestri said. “We decided this was the perfect way to support something we both strongly believed in.”
Both students participated in the women’s march and support Planned Parenthood, so they saw this as the best opportunity to get the word out about the important cause.
“They’re trying to shut down Planned Parenthoods and make abortion illegal, and that really frightens and saddens me, because it’s such an amazing thing that is provided to women,” Balestri said. “I have friends who use Planned Parenthood services. It’s been there for people in high school, in college, in adulthood, for people who can’t afford to have a child, or for other circumstances. It’s necessary.”
Balestri made the top of her dress out of condoms that say “Don’t eff with us, don’t eff without us.”
“I actually sewed together the condoms with a needle. That took awhile, and I got lube all over my hands, which was kind of gross,” she told BuzzFeed.
The skirt of her dress is made from a plastic shower curtain base and around 500 Planned Parenthood stickers, which Balestri applied while watching hours of Netflix. The skirt held special meaning for her.
“Hoop skirts were really popular at a time when women weren’t given the same access to things that men are,” she said.
Montes wanted to make her dress look like a sculpture, taking inspiration from art teacher, sculptor, and fashion show coordinator Nancy Fried. Because of the silhouette she chose, she could barely walk in her design.
“The hardest part is fitting it to your body, and to the curves,” she said. “Tucking in different parts to make sure it accommodates your breasts and your butt that’s tricky! But you can’t just make it flat.”
She’s participated in the show every year since 6th grade, and Erica Lansner, the show’s photographer, has been shooting the event for 12 years.
Montes explained that, overall, education is the most important factor in understanding safe family planning. “It just seems like such an important part of our culture, that we need to have safer methods [of family planning] and we need to educate,” she said. “That’s the main the point, is to educate people.”
Not only are their designs fashionable, but their message is in style, too. Don’t stop now, ladies. We can’t wait to see what you create next.