Junk 2 Funk: Still the hottest ticket in town

Savannah Arts Academy repurposed fashion show is always a hit

Junk 2 Funk: Still the hottest ticket in town
Savannah Karam gracing the runway last year as a model.

IT'S EASY to see why the readers of this publication have voted Savannah Arts Academy's Junk 2 Funk the best fashion show in Savannah for several years running. With so many creative designers and stylish models, it’s the most sought after ticket in town. 

The theme for Junk 2 Funk this year is “Mirage,” and all of Savannah is anxious to see what fashion will be on the runway at the premiere show on Thursday, January 30 — there are also shows on Friday and Saturday.

This will be Dahlia Karam’s second and final year participating in Junk 2 Funk before she graduates and heads off to SCAD.  Karam recognizes the value of participating in Junk 2 Funk.

“I’ve learned a lot about time management that I’ll definitely need.  I’ve also learned some sewing skills that may come in handy.”

This year Dahlia has used soda can tabs to create her design featured on the runway this week; collecting enough tabs to design a garment is challenge enough. 

Karam says, “It’s easy to just create a costume based on an Egyptian god, but to create something new that still reads well is another challenge entirely.”

Dahlia’s sister, Savannah Karam, is also participating in Junk 2 Funk, but as a model, so it has become a family affair.

“I think it’s great,” says Dahlia of her sister’s participation.  “I know it’s something she really likes doing, so I’m glad she gets to do it. We had a mutual agreement that I wouldn’t choose her as a model, so we both get to work with new people.”

As a Junior, this is Savannah’s second year as a model and she has a special affinity for the theme, “A mirage is an optical illusion, so to me, the title represents the artistry of Junk 2 Funk.  It’s a fashion show with no boundaries and if you can fully immerse yourself in the magic of the show, it feels surreal. The theme of the show is ‘Ancient Egyptian. I’m half Egyptian so I do feel a connection to the theme and it’s amazing to see so many students at my school learning about the culture I’ve celebrated for my whole life.”

Savannah acknowledges, “As a model, I’ve definitely learned to respect the artists’ visions and help them make their piece come to life, but I think the most important thing to understand as a model is that it’s not about the flashing lights and the applause.  It’s about honoring the hard work of an artist. I think this concept applies to so many different situations in life.”

“I’ve been fortunate to have designers both years who have wanted my input on the garment and wanted me to be happy with what I’m wearing,” adds Savannah.  “The collaboration that goes into the show is so incredible and there’s just so much creativity from the students designing.”

Savannah also has an appreciation for her sister’s design work.

“While this is my second year modeling, it’s also my sister’s second year designing, and now that we both understand the process of the show, I’ve been enjoying her participation in it a lot more.  There’s this kind of openness for ideas in our household, so when I look at her garment I see the things that I helped her with, and I think it just brings us closer as siblings.”

click to enlarge Junk 2 Funk: Still the hottest ticket in town
Dahlia Karam shown last year with her model, Cyrun, in original ensemble she designed.

It has become so much a family affair, even the girls’ parents have gotten involved. 

“When Junk 2 Funk preparation is in progress we call our dining room the J2F Situation Room.  There’s stuff all over our dining room table and it stays that way for weeks,” says Adel Karam, father of sisters Dahlia and Savannah.  “As deadlines draw near, and there are many, the stress level becomes palpable.” 

Dahlia and Savannah are not the only sister act to participate in Junk 2 Funk this year. Twins Francesca and Makenzie Boylston are also a designer and model pair.

This is Francesca’s second year participating, and she is designing two garments for the runway using fabric she made herself by painting it with watercolor. She has also made paper feathers for her creations.  

Francesca’s couture has come at the price of blood, sweat, and tears.

“I had an accident while working on my Junk 2 Funk garments at home.  I was kneeling and working on the floor and had scissors on the ground. I slid my arm backwards to grab my tape measure and the scissors got stuck in my wrist.  Thankfully, I didn’t hit a vain, but there was quite a bit of blood. I didn’t have to get stitches but it was a pretty deep hole and made it difficult to work for a few weeks,” she says.

“This is not just a fashion show, but also an education experience that will benefit students long after graduation.”  Francesca explains that she has learned how to, “work under pressure and with lots of competition and to remain original and true to myself among everyone else.”

As part of the process, she and other designers had the opportunity to travel to New York on a school trip.

“We were able to get some great inspiration and a behind the scenes look at the fashion industry in NYC.  It was a great experience.”

Francesca’s twin sister, Makenzie Boylston, has had her own challenges as she took a bad fall and sprained her ankle while walking the family dog.

“I’m supposed to walk down the runway and still have an air boot on,” explains Makenzie.  “I am scheduled to get out of it right before the show so I want to be sure I can walk without any problems and give the garment the proper representation.”

The twins enjoy sharing the process together.  Francesca says, “I’m really glad that she (Makenzie) can be a part of such an amazing experience, and I’m really happy for her.  I know she will do a great job!”

Junk 2 Funk: Still the hottest ticket in town
Francesca Boylston taking a bow at the end of the show last year; she is designing a collection this year.

Makenzie is also proud of her twin.

“She (Francesca) is super talented.  I love seeing her come up with ideas and then working to create them. I get a behind the scenes of all of the stress and attention to detail, and also seeing her idea from the beginning to the end.  It’s a very cool process.”

Kristin and Scott Boylston, parents of the twins, say, “Invade is a great word to use!  It is a constant state of creativity filled with lots of emotion. We love seeing how committed they are and watching them grow.  They’re learning how to juggle all the responsibilities while overcoming fears, solving problems and helping each other.”

As far as what the sisters pairs want the audience to experience at the show, Savannah Karam wishes, “In a world where there’s so much skepticism and questioning of even the most beautiful things in life, I hope the audience is able to appreciate the show as purely a form of art; no politics or social views involved.  That’s what Junk 2 Funk should be.”

Francesca Boylston adds, “Most importantly, I hope they are inspired.  Everything about the show from the set design, music, lighting and garment design should be appreciated by the audience even if it’s not their own personal style.  We all just want a chance at expressing our voice and being heard by presenting our creations.”

According to Gif Lockley, principal of Savannah Arts Academy, 2,600 tickets have been sold for the four shows, and those tickets sold out the same day that they went on sale.  

Don’t fear if you want to see the show and do not possess one of the coveted tickets yet.  Lockley says that 30 minutes before every show the school will offer 50 tickets for $20 each.  Those seats will be in the back of the theatre. 

There is also a Facebook group, “Junk 2 Funk - ticket swap or sale” where people sell extra tickets at the last minute for face value.