These Two High School Students Made Dresses Supporting Planned Parenthood Out of Stickers And Condoms

They didn't just make a fashion statement. They made a political statement.

Every year, the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx, New York holds its annual Fieldston Fashion Show,  a time for teacher Nancy Fried's sculpture students to create clothing out of anything — except fabric, of course. Over the years, they've created outfits out of alternative materials such as candy, Legos, and comic books. Since the show began 14 years ago with only 10 students, it has grown to include more than 70 participants this year. 

This year, two students didn't just push the envelope with their choice of materials, but in their choice of message, too. 

Karolina Montes, 17, and Zoe Balestri, 16, both high school juniors, created two floor-length gowns showcasing their support for Planned Parenthood. "… We wanted our dresses to not only be beautiful, but also have some sort of meaning further than a fashion show for high school," Montes told A Plus via email. 



Montes (left) and Belastri (right) created their dresses entirely out of informational materials from Planned Parenthood.
Montes (left) and Belastri (right) created their dresses entirely out of informational materials from Planned Parenthood. Erica Lansner  

Though Montes and Belastri knew they wanted to make their dresses together from the moment they received the assignment, they didn't know what materials they'd use or what their garments would represent. The students threw around a few ideas before landing on Planned Parenthood. Because both students are "big supporters" of the non-profit national healthcare organization, they knew it was, well, a perfect fit. 

From there, they envisioned making dresses out of Planned Parenthood stickers. However, after contacting the organization about their project, the students received several different materials, including pamphlets, stickers, pins, and condoms from Planned Parenthood. 

"When Planned Parenthood sent us different materials, including condoms, I thought making the top out of condoms would be a cool way to not only support Planned Parenthood, but also some of its messages, such as safe sex," Balestri explained. "I ended up sewing around 40 condoms together." 

Belastri even accessorized with Planned Parenthood-themed shoes. 
Belastri even accessorized with Planned Parenthood-themed shoes.  Erica Lansner

Her choice in a hoop skirt — made out of a shower curtain, shaped by PVC pipe, and covered with more than 500 neon pink stickers — was not merely fashionable, but intentional. "The hoop shape itself was more meaningful to me than just a silhouette figure," she explained. "At the time when hoop skirts were in style, women weren't afforded the same rights as men, and had a very strict societal acceptance."

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