Those are the two local students who recently posted a note in the WSB Forums that caught our eye. It read, in part:
Our names are Grace Puffert and Mary Griffin and we’re seniors at Seattle Lutheran High School. Every year, each senior is required to create and execute a senior project that should in some way give back and benefit the community. We decided to have a community Fashion Show in order to raise money for Providence Mount Saint Vincent Nursing Home (where we both are volunteers) here in West Seattle.
The theme of our fashion show is “Fashion through the Ages” (WORKING ON A BETTER TITLE!). Our hope is to exhibit clothing from each era beginning with 1900. So this is where you come in, if anyone would like to donate or lend clothing (era-oriented) or their services to helping us put this show on, it would be GREATLY appreciated. We really would like to bring together the entire West Seattle community on this project
Grace and Mary (left/right in the photo above) got some quick e-mail replies, and one was from us – to arrange a chat with them to find out more about what they’re doing and how you can help. So we sat down at a local coffeehouse one recent night to chat …
The Mount means a lot to both students. Besides volunteering there, Mary went to preschool there (the Intergenerational Learning Center‘s been in operation since 1991). “We want to bring attention to The Mount,” Mary explains, “let people know that you can volunteer … and they have fun people.” Grace picks up, “Some of the people who live there tell the funniest stories.” So, ticket sales for their show will benefit the facility.
What are they seeking for fashion “through the ages”? we asked. “Whatever people want to offer,” says Grace — though she acknowledges, it might be mostly women’s clothing; “guys’ clothes are harder to come by.” Whatever it is, “clothing is going to make the show … we want this to be a real event, lots of period pieces.” They’re hoping to have a display for every decade in the past century, showing how styles have evolved. “The best part,” Grace declares, “is that it’s common ground — everyone has to wear clothes. You can see the way it’s changed through the years — females didn’t wear pants!”
So far, they’re collecting and borrowing whatever they can get. From the grandmother that Grace lost a year ago, for example, comes a collection of 80 hats, many of which the students hope to display during their show. Mary mentions another one-of-a-kind contribution – a wedding dress from the ’20s. And the beneficiary of their show is good for some contributions too – the day we met, they had been over at The Mount for a meeting, and spotted a “floor-length blue velour dress” they hoped to incorporate.
They’re brainstorming various ways to increase participation, such as stores that might want to lend dresses that are for sale – “we’ll mention that in the program,” they promise. They’ve already been talking to the thrift and consignment shops in The Junction.
This isn’t just a senior project, but, at least for Grace, preparation for her college studies – she’s planning to study fashion merchandising at Seattle Pacific University. Mary hopes to study psychology. Right now, Grace has a job at Great Harvest Bread in The Junction, and is hoping to get them and other merchants to donate food.
“We need a lot of help,” Mary interjects. “We’re open to any kind of help.”
Perhaps the only area where they’re amply covered is modeling – they have a list of almost 100 people who’ve volunteered for that role, although they note the prerequisites are a little unusual: “We need very small people to fit into the clothes from 1920s or earlier,” Grace says. “Maybe middle schoolers?”
What they really need: Oldtime music. “We don’t really want to play techno for the whole thing,” they laugh. And photos for a possible slide show of outfits from way back when (one remembers seeing her mom in a photo in ’70s wear, and blurts, “scary!”).
Overall, they’re excited and nervous, working hard – including weekends – considering ideas for everything from ticket prices to displays to emcees – “we need charisma, to keep people awake, and engage the crowd,” they insist. The goal date for their show is April 11th; they were trying to nail down a commitment for the school gym when we spoke.
If you have vintage clothes or music to lend, ideas to share, or donations you think might help Grace and Mary’s show, you can e-mail them at: firstname.lastname@example.org