Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar recently hosted a measuring session for the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra members. In the spring of 2008 Sandra Wilkins, Chairperson for the Department of Fashion Design was contacted by the Qatar Foundation with a request to assist the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) in designing and obtaining the appropriate uniforms.
Faculty from the Department of Fashion Design assisted Ms. Wilkins in taking exact size measurements for the 101 member orchestra. After the measurements were taken the Orchestra and members of the Fashion Department at VCUQatar posed for a picture.
The following week Kurt Meister, Managing Director for the QPO met with Ms. Sandra Wilkins to review potential proposals. Sandra explained that "our role will include styling the tuxedos and doing the detailed design concept for the ladies' dresses. The project will be an assignment for the senior class under the supervision of Design Manager Hawa Stwodah. It serves as one of the community service activities VCUQatar participates in to support the State of Qatar. All proceeds from the project will go to support the scholarship funds." Last year's community service project by VCUQatar was the design of the joint Education City Commencement Regalia.
Kurt Meister said, "I am excited about our first collaboration effort with VCUQatar and look forward to seeing the development of the designs. This will be the first orchestra in the world with a specifically designed uniform look. Most other orchestras require members to wear black but none that I know of have specific dresses designed for them."
The design process will begin by exploring 24 potential gown concepts which will be narrowed down to six designs presented to members of the orchestra. After various meetings the selections will be further narrowed down to three making sure they meet Qatar's unique aesthetic requirements and finally a presentation will be made to the Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation for final selection.
After reviewing the design concepts with faculty Dean Allyson Vanstone stated, "VCUQatar is proud to create meaningful contributions to the development of Qatar's cultural life. I am delighted that our students' work will be showcased through the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. We are all looking forward to attending the upcoming performances."