Young fashionistas set up shop at Royal B.C. Museum

It's like Project Runway for pre-teens.

Fashion Machine is part-sewing class, part-theatre production for young aspiring designers

Young designers will take part in Fashion Machine at the Royal B.C. Museum on Mar. 28 and 29. (Pamela Bethel Creative)

It's like Project Runway for pre-teens.

This weekend, the Royal B.C. Museum is daring its visitors to participate in a live performance where their clothes will be transformed into works of art by young fashionistas.

Part-sewing class, part-theatre, the event Fashion Machine will allow the audience to choose a sticker that either says, "I'm in," or has a picture of a chicken on it.

Those daring to opt in may then be chosen as fashion models by small groups of scissor-wielding youngsters.

The audience member will be asked to step out of their clothes and slip into a robe while the young designers tear the clothes apart and refit them with added pockets or buttons or tutus.

The two-day event, organized by Victoria's Theatre SKAM and sewing lab The MakeHouse, is part of an attempt to help kids develop a skill and a critical eye for fashion.

"I think often people don't put enough faith in kids and what they can do," The MakeHouse's Jenny Ambrose told North By Northwest's Sheryl MacKay.

"What our project does is actually opens up a lot of doors that haven't maybe been opened before."

Ambrose says the children take a 10 to 12-hour crash course on sewing, fashion history and theatre before taking on the audience. At the end of the night, those whose clothes were altered will show them off on a catwalk.

Ambrose says the event is a learning experience for both children and adults.

"They're watching children do things that many adults can't do or haven't learned how to do because in this day and age, not everybody knows how to operate a sewing machine," she said.

"Not everybody has the guts to take scissors to their jeans or their sweater."

Fashion Machine runs Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m. PT at the Royal B.C. Museum.

To hear the full interview, listen to the audio labelled: Young fashionistas take over Royal B.C. Museum.

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