Fashion Machine

(Poster by Rayola Design; Photomontage by Betty-Ann Lampman.)

(Poster by Rayola Design; Photomontage by Betty-Ann Lampman.)

Our widely acclaimed project Fashion Machine completed a tour of the UK in May of 2016. We visited Mayfest Bristol, England) and Chapter (Cardiff, Wales).

But first…Fashion Machine visited one of our favourite local schools, Ecole George Jay Elementary, with a show on April 30th. A group of students took five lucky audience members on a fashion journey as their outfits were redesigned and remade.

Presenters: Limited availability remains for 2016. The best touring availability is March 2017 and beyond. Contact:

In Fashion Machine, children get the chance to take select attendees’ outfits and remake them into new works of fashion art. The show has had an extensive development process, with years of camps, workshops, previews, and in 2014, a World Premiere!

Phase one of the project took place March 29, 2012 to May 3, 2012, in collaboration with the Victoria Intercultural Association: two Theatre SKAM instructors and two ICA staff conducted 6 weekly 2-hour drama classes with children of ICA clients. Within the classes, these new-to-Canada kids aged 6-12 were introduced to the idea of the project through fun drama games that imagined elements of Fashion Machine.

Phase two took place August 13-17, 2012. After meeting the kids of the ICA, SKAM and ICA took the project to the next step. Three Theatre SKAMartists and the ICA staff conducted a one-week summer camp for children ages 10 to 13. These junior kampers met designers, tailors, and seamstresses, toured local clothing makers’ facilities, and learned the rules of fashion and style. Then they broke some of those rules as they remade the outfits of 5 adults brave enough to offer up their favourite clothing.

The camp featured guest artists and educators- Dr. Jennifer Wise, Erin Macklem, Everett Wong, April Parchoma, Trish Tacoma, Sandra McLellan, and Mark Dusseault- working with children drawn from SKAM’s previous work with ICA clients. With field trips to Smoking Lily, the Pacific Opera Costume shop, and the Belfry, along with a range of local clothiers presenting workshops or short lectures, this was a fun and educational experience for young artists-in-training. Plus we went for ice cream.

Phase three saw the rehearsal, installation and presentation of a preview of Fashion Machine with ICA children and families! Many thanks to Jenny Ambrose from The Make House. Phase three was presented April 28, 2013 at Open Space (Gallery).

Phase four was the World Premiere of the show, from June 6-8 2014. It took place at the Pacific Opera Victoria’s Opera Shop.