Trashion show: Recycled trash into fashion

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Flower detail of a dress made of Capri Sun bottom halves with plastic trash bag. (Natalia Aguilar/Borderzine.com)

Flower detail of a dress made of Capri Sun bottom halves with plastic trash bag. (Natalia Aguilar/Borderzine.com)

EL PASO — For the most part fashion design has a reputation for superficiality and a lack of concern for the planet, but this year designers in the technology program at El Paso Community College (EPCC) decided to change that perception with a Trashion Show.

“In a way it’s like helping the world and it’s not only about the fashion but about having satisfaction of helping out,” said one of the designers, Zayra Estrada. Students and other collaborators said this is a way to help spread consciousness about recycling. “You can be fashionable without being abusive and use resources wisely,” said Fashion Technology coordinator, Trish Winstead.

Five talented students from the Fashion Promotion class displayed their pieces made of recyclable materials at this year’s Trashion Show in commemoration of Earth Day. “The idea behind the show was to demonstrate that items that only seem worthy of trashing are usable in other ways,” said Winstead. The participants were allowed to exhibit as many pieces as they wanted made only of already used materials.

Dress made of Capri Sun bottom halves with plastic trash bag. (Natalia Aguilar/Borderzine.com)

Dress made of Capri Sun bottom halves with plastic trash bag. (Natalia Aguilar/Borderzine.com)

In previous years students of the Fashion Promotion class worked in conjunction with the TecH2O center, an El Paso Water Utilities program that helps share awareness about water resources in the area.

The students would prepare themselves to compete against other El Pasoans in a “Trashion Show” competition open to everyone. In 2009 the competition had 35 competitors and in 2010 the competition reached 85 participants. Winners were rewarded with iPods, CDs and gift certificates.

This year there was no competition due to insufficient volunteers, but the designers felt it was still important to share this notion with the rest of the public and to change the insensitive image of fashion. “It’s another way to help the environment,” said Estrada.

On Saturday, April 23, 2011 models showcased wearable fashions made of aluminum, paper, plastic, and foam. “I want people to know that there are many things that you can do with plastics and aluminum, and that everything can be recycled,” said first time participant and designer, Tomasa King whose dress was made of over 200 Capri Sun bottom halves sewn to make a chic cocktail dress. She was very excited to be part of such an event for her love to recycling. “I love to recycle, I recycle almost anything,” she said.

Besides focusing on the importance of recycling, Winstead also believes the Trashion Show is another way of showing the students’ work and creativity. “An event like this benefits fashion design students because it gives them another limitation and new mind set,” she said.

Students were challenged to use their imagination and be creative with their fashions. “It’s a challenge to work with this material because it dares you to use your imagination and it gives you more ideas,” said Estrada whose dress was made of at least 100 2-liter Coke bottles. “It took me a year to collect all the Coke bottles,” she said.

The intention of organizing a Trashion Show next year is there, but it depends on whether there will be students in the EPCC Fashion Promotion course who will be willing to volunteer and participate in order to put the show together. Even though some have already said yes to next year, this will not be known until late January 2012 when the spring semester begins.

For more information contact Trish Winstead (915) 831-5057.

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