Comox student makes a statement with environmentally friendly grad dress

Paper grad dress cost $30

  • Jun. 26, 2015 7:00 a.m.

Erika Massicote wore a dress made entirely out of paper and organic products for her graduation.

Terry Farrell

Record staff

Erika Massicotte walked the walk at her grad, and she’s hoping that she started a trend.

When the grad committee was discussing themes for the 2015 École Au coeur-de-l’île graduation, “Hope for Humanity” was brought up as one possibility. Massicotte took that theme to heart.

Her grad dress was made entirely out of recyclable paper and organic products.

“I didn’t feel like spending hundreds of dollars on a grad dress and I wanted to encourage recycling as well as sticking with natural, organic and local materials,” Massicotte told The Record.

Ultimately, the grad committee decided against going with a particular theme for the Class of 2015, but Massicotte was not deterred.

“I just decided I was going to do it anyway,” she said.

Massicotte noted there was originally some resistance to her idea, particularly from parents of graduating students.

“Many of the mothers were concerned about me showing up in a paper dress, particularly due to my lack of artistic skills,” said Massicotte. “So an art teacher from our school, Teresa Renaud, asked me if she could create one for me. It turned out to be a success. Most people didn’t even notice that my dress was made out of recycled materials.  I was also able to sit in a car, go to dinner and go to the bathroom twice with the dress.”

Massicotte said it was the ideal way for her to express the theme of the grad, and it was all made possible because of the efforts of a teacher.

“I can’t thank Teresa enough; she is truly a talented woman,” said Massicotte. “I believe Teresa has started a new trend at our school; girls have already asked her to make them recycled dresses for their grad year.”

The total cost of her dress was less than what most grads spent on corsages: $30. Renaud would not accept payment from Massicotte. In keeping with the theme of the grad, Renaud asked Massicotte to put the money to a humanitarian cause.

“Instead of giving her the $30, she asked that I send that money as a donation to the Salvation Army or to next year’s recycled dress fund or a cause that I believed in such as the Yaakaar program that I was involved with these past two years. I will be sending it to the Yaakaar 2017 humanitarian project which will take place in Senegal to build wells, send baby milk and diapers to orphanages and send books and food to the communities.”

(“Yaakaar” is the word for hope in the local Senegalese Wolof language.)

Dress information

Underlay of dress:  Brown bags from Thifty foods; biodegradable and renewable

Overlay of dress:  brown and white rice paper from Leapenhi Paper on Fifth Street; hand picked, no bleaching, fair trade.

Sewn with: organic cotton thread

Lining: with non bleached organic cotton.

Laced in back with organic cotton ribbon.

Shoes from Too Good to Be Threw

 

 

Approximate cost of the dress:  $30

Shoes: $7

 

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