Perpich News

Addy Miller (Literary Arts 2024) Receives Third Place Honors in St. Catherine University’s 2023 Fashion Competition

January 30, 2024

Congratulations to Addy Miller (Literary Arts 2024) who received Overall Third Place honors in St. Catherine University’s 2023 Fashion Competition!

The annual virtual fashion competition, a design challenge open to all high school students, provides an opportunity to submit designs within the two categories of Sustainability and Social Justice. “I created this dress based on the social justice prompt,” said Miller. “The concept of this dress is grounded in climate change, specifically coral bleaching. It’s a topic that is not being talked about enough, even though 80% of the Great Barrier Reef has experienced bleaching events due to temperature changes.” This design reflects that, as Addy hand painted scenes of a coral reef slowly being consumed by the heat. “There are five panels depicting a coral reef, and with every panel, more and more of the coral is bleached. By the end, nothing is left, not even the fish in the sea.”

The judges of the competition were very impressed! From their statement: “Nice use of visual imagery to tell the sad and compelling story of coral devastation in our oceans. I like how the repeating pattern of the pearled white fabric in between the painted coral panels of the dress makes each section a chapter in the story. The bust area is very cute! Fit is good. Overall, a wonderful piece. Visually inspiring and the details are spectacular and well thought-out with the artist statement.”

Receiving this honor has encouraged Addy’s interest in the fashion world, but it wasn’t always so easy. “Creating this dress was a struggle,” shared Miller. “It is only the third dress that I have ever made. Hand painting the coral scenes took months of work that I was not prepared for. There was even a point where I considered just giving up and finding a different design. But then, I found a surge of motivation and was able to complete the dress the day before the deadline. I was so anxious about how the judges would receive this look. All I could notice were the flaws. But when I received the announcement that I had won, I was ecstatic. It furthered my interest in fashion design to the point where I am considering finding a career path in that field. It was a major accomplishment to see my dress earn the recognition it got!”

While the messaging behind the garment was important, Addy also had high expectations for the quality. “I still wanted the dress to have an elegance to it, so I pleated the bodice to resemble a seashell and sewed tiny pearl beads from my craft drawer all along the points in the skirt, which is shaped like a sand dollar, to add texture. The length of the dress ends mid-calf, so it’s perfect for strolling along the beach! I used a polyester satin leftover from a previous project for the corset and lining. Meanwhile, the panels are made of a light cotton that I used fabric paint on to detail the reefs. Finally, I found beautiful glass beads that looked like fish that I added to the coral scenes.”

St. Catherine University Prof. Jacqueline Parr, Fashion Design and Merchandising Department Chair, says, “The high school Virtual Fashion Competition once again showcased an impressive array of submissions, each reflecting exceptional design craftsmanship. What stood out most was the dedication to sustainability and social justice among the students, marking them as promising rising stars in the field. Embracing sustainability isn’t just a trend; it’s the future of fashion, offering solutions to environmental and social challenges while fostering innovation and resilience within the industry. This commitment ensures fashion’s longevity and relevance in our ever-evolving world.”

Adelaide “Addy” Miller is from Minneapolis, MN and is the child of Amy & Chad Miller. She previously attended Cane Bay High School in Summerville, SC.

The St. Catherine University Fashion Competition began four years ago during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic as a way to reach out to young artists. This year’s competition yielded seven winners: an overall first, second, and third place; a first and second place winner in Window Display; and then a winner for each category of Sustainability and Social Justice.