Something Borrowed, Something New: Fashion Students Redesign a Wedding Dress on ‘Good Morning America’

By Babee Garcia, Entertainment Editor

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Host Laura Spencer (left), judge Joe Zee (middle) and model Gabrielle Rios were on air on Good Morning America this past Friday.
Photo courtesy of Good Morning America

With a $50 budget and two weeks of labor, Montclair State University fashion students Giselle Castaneda and John Estefa transformed an ordinary wedding dress into a gothic purple masterpiece on “Good Morning America” (GMA) last Friday.

Chosen by arts and design professor Abby Lillethun, the pair headed to Times Square with two other teams of students from Marist College in New York and Thomas Jefferson University in Pennsylvania to recreate a wedding dress using as much fabric from the original as possible.

At the end of the challenge, Castaneda and Estefa used 95% of the repurposed Polyester fabric from the original. The weight of the material leftover was 7 and 3/4 ounces. Additional features within the dress included black pearls on the torso, lacing in the back, and the transparent tulle at the bottom. The roses on the dress were individually crafted using strips of fabric from the original dress.

The categories in which fashion expert Joe Zee and Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Anne Fulenwider judged the students on were creativity, technical skill and the amount of fabric used for the wedding dress.

Both students were flattered when Lillethun selected them for this opportunity of a lifetime from an email exchange with Grace Wong of GMA.

“Knowing that we were the first two [students] that came to mind for this, I felt honored,” Castaneda said.

Another person who was grateful for the experience was Castaneda’s best friend Gabrielle Rios, the model chosen to wear the avant-garde dress.

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Fashion students Giselle Castaneda and John Estefa created their one of a kind dress with a $50 budget in a two-week time frame.
Photo courtesy of MSU Arts and Design Twitter Account

“Having the opportunity to help her with modeling the dress was something I will never forget,” Rios said. “Being backstage, the hair, makeup and the filming itself. Never in my life did I think I’d be able to say I was on television modeling a dress in New York.”

Rios mentioned that the two students put their blood, sweat and tears into the competition. She could not have been more honored to be the person showing it off.

Fashion studies professor Dr. May Chae spoke highly of her students’ creativity and diligence during the GMA wedding dress challenge. She will miss them when they graduate this winter and wishes them the best of luck in the future.

“The GMA wedding dress challenge was a great experience for them,” Chae said. “They worked hard to demonstrate how to convert an idea to a reality in a short period of time. Without their good teamwork, it wouldn’t be possible. They were a great team.”

What made Castaneda and Estefa successful together was their common interests in fashion as they both like to let their imaginations run wild.

“Our styles are complimentary and we both enjoy designing fantasy fairytale-type looks,” said Estefa, a senior fashion studies major.

Although the fashion duo lost the competition to Thomas Jefferson University, Estefa expressed that everyone was a winner in the end.

“I didn’t care who won,” Estefa said. “Everyone put in so much effort into thinking outside the box. I was inspired and impressed with what everyone created.”

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Each team of college students was given a dress to customize from bridal designer and season five “Project Runway” winner Leanne Marshall.
Photo courtesy of Good Morning America

Castaneda spoke about how proud her mother was at seeing her on GMA as she continues to constantly encourage her to pursue her dreams of becoming a fashion designer.

“Everyone here [in the fashion studies department] seems to love it,” Castaneda said.

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