- Letters to Editor
BY: KASEY TYRING
Thirty-seven models and one dog strutted their stuff Tuesday night, March 5 at the inaugural TRASH FASH BASH fashion show while wearing a variety of recyclable materials from spoons and tarp to “pages of a textbook that nobody would buy back.”
The TRASH FASH BASH was collaboration between the Office of Responsible Environmental Stewardship and the Department of Art and Design to gain awareness of Eastern’s participation in RecycleMania.
Students were invited to submit their unique design of sustainability-inspired pieces to compete for the titles of best in show and a variety of other awards.
More than 200 students filled Powell Underground, and countless students were turned away after the venue reached capacity within minutes of opening its doors.
Among the predictable materials used to create sustainability-inspired designs were curtains, trash bags, newspapers and duct tape.
More bizarre materials used for clothing included Starbucks sleeves, orange construction fencing, an entire garment bag, Christmas tulle, shredded soda cans and cacti. Yes, one model walked the catwalk wearing three small cactuses as accessories.
One of the highlights of the show was the dog model. The dog’s owner is a professor at Eastern who dressed the animal in a cape made of a variety of old event programs.
Not only did the event show off wearable fashion, but home goods as well. On display were pillows made of old T-shirts and lamps made of pull-tabs and CDs.
Student judges Kelsey Gadd, 21, health services administration major, and Morgan Hughes 20, marketing major, were impressed by the variety of materials and creativity that students displayed in their pieces.
“My favorite materials were the pages of Teen Vogue made into an entire dress, and the book pages one guy used to make a beard,” Gadd said.
Hughes said he innovative styles and materials made it difficult to pick an overall winner.
“It was hard to judge so many great looks,” Hughes said. “We were blown away by the talent of the designers and the models. It was an honor to be a judge.”
Julie Bucknam, professor of art and art education, was another judge at the event.
“As an art teacher no material really surprises me,” Bucknam said. “But if I had to say, the pieces that really shocked me were the ones that used dangerous materials. There was one model wearing a chicken wire neckpiece, and then there was the black dress that had shredded coke cans. Those were impressive.”
After students were seated they were informed that one of them would be a fourth surprise judge. An action figure had been taped underneath one chair in the audience, and the attendee who was sitting in that seat would become the judge. Brenna Brown, 18, occupational science major from Russellville was the lucky audience member.
“I was not expecting to be a judge tonight,” Brown said. “I was really impressed by the innovative creations students used for recycled items. My favorite was the book pages that were made into a beard and suit jacket.”
Dominic Forte, 20, apparel merchandising major from Louisville, entered four different pieces in the show and was the winner of the People’s Choice category. Forte’s designs incorporated trash bags, rope, metals chains, duct tape and bed sheets.
“I made all my designs in 48 hours just because I was procrastinating,” Forte said. “It was a lot of fun, but it was definitely a learning experience trying to use all the different materials. I’m really excited for next year.”
The TRASH FASH BASH will happen again next year in a bigger venue like the Student Success Building, said director of student life Nikki Hart.
“It would just be a bigger space for everyone, and more students could attend,” Hart said. “I know I turned down at least 30 students tonight because we had reached capacity. There would also be more room backstage for the models and designers.”
Assistant professor of art and foundations director Melissa Vandenberg and coordinator of environmental sustainability and stewardship office Alice Jones had been working on the event since November.
“The idea of wearable art has been happening in my classroom since I’ve started here at EKU in 2009,” Vandenberg said. “I’ve always pushed my students to see if they can make their project for free. The idea is born out of practicality not necessarily the notion of being green. That’s just a great side benefit, and I think that’s when the idea of conservation works best. When it is the best decision [for the environment] and it’s practical.”
Jones said she hopes students will be inspired by the event.
“By coming and watching tonight’s show, hopefully students will think ‘Hey, I can do that,’” Jones said. “Sustainability is not just about recycling. Reduce and reuse come before recycling, and I hope tonight students are inspired to reuse some materials that before, they would’ve throw away.”
The TRASH FASH BASH is only one of a variety of events highlighting Eastern’s participation in RecycleMania, which is a 10-week national tournament of colleges and universities judged on percent of recycled materials per capita of total waste. It is Eastern’s fourth year participating in the tournament.
Upcoming RecycleMania events include the Recycle-Olympics on March 20. Four-person teams will compete in ten recycle-themed challenges.
If any students have questions about upcoming events or how to participate in RecycleMania visit Facebook.com/EKUGreenCrew or Green.eku.edu