Project Funway Fashion Show Raises Money for Education

For 12 years, the Education Foundation of Eagle County (Efec) has hosted Project Funway, one of the largest fundraising shows in Vail. This generates support for local schools by raising money for in school programs, mental health support and recognizing teachers. Over 40 designers participate where every look is made from “anything but fabric,” and judged by six judges — one being Project Runway runner up Mondo Guerra.

Efec has provided more than $500,000 in school staffing, classroom support, STEM materials, technology, musical instruments, art programming and curriculum. Donations from shows like Project Funway help with teacher retention. 

The show began with a Battle Mountain High School drumline performance, showing that the family-friendly event truly is community driven. Then, hosts Erik Williams and Maddie Evans introduced the judges and announced the first half of the competition — youth designers 12 and under.

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Made out of finger looming loops, sparkly gems and glue, the Hawaiian-esque dress was the perfect opener. Between the intricately crafted flowers layered on the dress, the matching headband and bouquet of flowers — the complexity of the garment really set the tone for the rest of the show. 

Following the opener was an outer space duo ensemble. Made out of twist tie wire and hot glue, the matching gold dresses were certainly show stoppers. With bursts of colors coming out of the skirt, hat and ankles — it felt like a whimsical way to tie in the space theme. To conclude their walk, the models had a lightsaber fight to the “Star Wars” theme song. 

As the 12 and under age group progressed, each look proved to be more grand and creative than the next. Looks made out of art supplies, food packaging, dog poop bags, Eagle County snow day stickers, wire, sea glass and trash bags were curated together to show that fashion truly is art. 

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Teens ages 13-18 started the next array of looks. Titled “Repurpose Me” and what won Eagle Valley Middle School Best in Show, was a dress made out of book spines and pages, duct tape, shoelaces, fish net, string and a hoop skirt. Another look called “The Future is Written in the Past” held a Parisian undertone with an oversized hat, matching purse and long strapless dress — all made out of recycled PVC banners, books, thread and hot glue. 

Called “Popcorn Love,” a silver shimmery dress with dramatic off the shoulder sleeves took the runway. The reflective material was popcorn bags, popcorn, saran wrap, packing peanuts, chicken wire, hot glue, super glue and spray paint. With each look, it was easy to forget that they were all made out of recycled materials or art supplies. 

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During intermission, guests participated in a paddle raise that ranged from donating $46,180 to pay for a teacher’s salary to $5,000 for mental health support for students and teachers. Since 2011, Efec’s advocacy campaigns have resulted in over $228 million for Eagle County Schools.

Needless to say, Project Funway is only one of the many efforts Efec has to raise money for local schools. With this in mind, the adult portion of the show proves one of the reasons why Project Funway is such a success. 

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Made from plastic kites, the rainbow ensemble was one of the more playful looks. From the rainbow spotted skirt to the striped top and kite accessory, the “Be Brave and Fly” outfit was one of the most notable looks yet. Another was made out of dried fruits and oranges dusted in sparkles. The orange and green earthy tones and gold crown complemented the Egyptian and Spring undertones.

Between the metallic gold, white and the amount of feathers, the “Love the Mother Earth” outfit duo was a showstopper. Though made out of carpet, window screen, paper and recycled materials, the texture of each look appeared like any other garment made out of fabric evidently showcasing the talent of the designer. The contrast between the gold two piece outfit and the white gown with gold accents complimented each other beautifully.

Though each look proved to be more innovative than the next, the community coming together for a great cause made the evening extra special and provided hope for the future of Eagle County teachers. 

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All photography by: Jas Kitterman


Youth (12 & Under) + Teen (13-18)  :

First – Caribbean Sea Meets Western Style by Charlotte Halk 

Second – Azaleas by Azalea Cadavid

Third – Cyber Punk by Sean Marshall, Randy Obeso & Riley Dunn, Vintage Records by Nina Smith, Candyland by Maya Valentine Knipers

Adult (19+)

First  – Dried Citrus Fruit by Charis Patterson

Second – Honoring This Country That Welcomed Me by Adriana Gonzales

Third – Black Beauty by Vivi Marquez

Best in Show: Bringing Life to Recycled Materials by Homestake Peak School Art Club (Baizley Biniecki, Ellery Brown, Ayden Caffery, Sawyer Lines, Deedee Lines and Hannah Woodson)

Judges: Mondo Guerra, Amanda Precourt, Elaine Kelton, Gina Browning, Joe Illick and Black Plumley

Hair and Makeup: Mindy A., Brenda Amaya, Karla Castillo, Nancy Crawford, Lisa Delappa, Sophia Delappa, Michele Gieg, Clara Goehring, Anna Himmes, Amanda Holcomb, Khailaya Hughes, JaiCie Knodell, Jillian Lee, Marlinne Lujan, Lily Marion, Nick Mahaffey, Debbie Marquez, Astrid McGinley, Yahaira Moya, Izag O’Gorman, Kim Olmeda, Lauren Ortiz, Maddia Qualman, Alan Randall, Jeannie Suarez, Jazmin Torres, About Hair Salon, Shear Colour, The Space, Vail Skin and Nails, Cos Bar, Do or Dye, Noni’s Hair Bar, Mary Kay, Vail Skin and Lashes Medical Spa

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