Refashion show turns trash to high couture

March 30, 2010

By Danielle Lombardi ’09

One person’s trash may be another person’s treasure — and it just may be somebody else’s high couture. Or so it seemed on March 25 at the “Reduce, Reuse, Re-fashion” show, where the Art Club and the Environmental Action Club joined creative forces to challenge participants to design runway-worthy ensembles out of recyclable items that too often end up in trash bins.

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An uninformed observer might have mistaken the piles of assembled materials as merely a chaotic mix of cardboard and plastic, newspaper and aluminum. However the imaginative students revving up for the competition saw only the possibilities. Nine teams of two to five students spent 90 minutes fabricating their masterpieces out of the provided recyclables.

The muddle of plastic bags and cardboard boxes were quickly and impressively transformed into gowns, hats and accessories, while the laughter of the teams demonstrated a humorous appreciation for their own offbeat designs. Junior Kendra Shillenn said it showed people that they could “do something fun and creative instead of just throwing things out.” The teams were judged in categories including “Most Original,” “Most Sophisticated,” and “Best Overall.”

Art Club president Jes Osrow’10 said the event encouraged students to exercise their artistic flair in a fun way, adding that “fashion is a form of art that often gets overlooked.”

It certainly would have been difficult for anyone to overlook the outfits that walked down the runway at the culmination of the night, around 8:30 p.m. From an elegant black and white gown made of newspaper to a belly dancing costume created out of torn and layered plastic, the participants made up for any deficiency in the available materials with plenty of imagination. Modeling the gown that won the night’s top honor of “Best Overall” was junior Erin Duffy, wearing a white plastic dress with a layered bubble wrap skirt, M&M cardboard belt, and Kix cereal box vest. She and her teammates won reusable water bottles, one of the many “green” prizes awarded throughout the evening.

Senior Ashleigh Smith, referring to the turnout of more than 50 students, enthused, “For this being a first-time event the student participation is unreal.” Kelly Whall ’11 defined the show and its purpose when she described it as a stunning example of  “what we can achieve when we learn to preserve our resources and put them to better use.”