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The Purpose of the Theme: "Alice in Sewing Wonderland"

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

It's Wonderland reimagined through your eyes

When coming up with a theme for the Inaugural Student Emergence Showcase, the idea was to give participants a focus that was exciting, very familiar, and yet not so narrowly defined as to limit any one designer’s imagination. I also wanted the theme to be accessible to all skill levels and thus the idea for “Alice in Sewing Wonderland” was born.

Naturally many people think of the Disney Animated film when they think of Alice, and they assume they have to create some version of the characters portrayed there. However, I encourage everyone to think beyond the familiar imagery of the Disney movie’ and consider instead the characteristics and personalities of the timeless caricatures both known and not so well known within the famous books

For instance Alice doesn’t have to be a young girl in a blue dress and white pinafore. Consider who Alice would be and what she would wear if Wonderland were real. What if Alice were grown up? What if Alice, a young girl, was Alex, a young man instead? What are the main qualities that Alice possesses and how would that inform her (or his) fashion decisions.

Once you start thinking outside the box a little, and perhaps even explore the book and not the movie, you can begin to appreciate that the theme is more of a guide post than a road block.

To assist prospective design applicants in this process I have created personality profiles for each character chapter of the show. Again don’t assume that your design submission has to look exactly like the character from the children’s books. Consider the distinctive qualities of each character and how you would design for that personality if they were your client today.


Young/ Young at heart, Imaginative, Adventurous, Brave

White Rabbit:

Old school, Well Dressed, Organized, Self Made

Chessire cat:

Quirky, Uninhibited, Happy go lucky, mischievous

Mad Hatter:

Original, Unpredictable, Eccentric, Fun

Queen of Hearts:

Regal, Confident, Figurehead, Exhibitionist,

Other Wonderland:

Imaginary, Fantastical, Creative, Eye catching, Inspirational, Trail blazing

Beyond the most popular characters we know and love from the Wonderland books there are at least 16 other notable characters from which you can take inspiration. And even if you don’t want to use an existing character you can make one up. For instance if you lived in wonderland, think about what you would wear as a citizen and go from there.

The point is this is a great opportunity to share and present your ideas and your skills as a designer. Show us what a bride from Wonderland looks like. Show us what a pop star from Wonderland looks like. Show us what a visitor touring in Wonderland looks like? See once you escape what already is and was, you can imagine all that could be. And I just want you to share the vision at the Chattanooga Fashion Expo

Submit your designs today. We want you to be part of the Inaugural Student Emergence Showcase. Apply now:

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