It is common to think that all clothing should be made of luxurious fabrics and trims, but I will never look at trash in the same way after I attended the 2015 Trash Makeover Challenge. This show will change your mind about mainstream design and show you just how amazing and creative our local designers can be. Can you imagine an outfit made of Dorito bags, bike chains, leaves, newspaper or even cd’s? No problem for these talented designers, and that’s just the shortlist of unconventional products used in this competition.
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The nearly 20 Austin designers, some novices, some well schooled in their craft, took on the challenge and created a 90% reused or recycled wearable garment to compete for top trophies and bragging rights for the fifth annual event. The winner would split a $1,200 prize between team members. The beneficiary of the show, The Texas Campaign for the Environment, is a natural fit due to their focus on recycling and zero waste. The show started off as a novelty event and has now turned into a sold out event every year.
The North Door was packed with cheering supporters along with several Austin VIP’s including Mayor Steve Adler. He addressed the crowd and commented on how this event, “feels like Austin.” Other VIP’s included Council Member Leslie Pool, Commissioner Brigid Shea and Judge Sarah Eckhardt. The elite panel of judges for the show included: Alberta Phillips, editorial writer & columist, Austin American Statesman, Midi Soliz, designer, Linda Vega, founder & CEO Urban Midway Elite Vendors, Santiago Anaya, model and Samuel Alexander, co-founder Tech+Style Global. The emcee for the night was the beautiful Brianna Fleet, founder of Butterfly Entertainment.
The theme for 2015 was Steampunk Meets Nature. Remember those Mad Max movies? Well add some old style industrial revolution and a dash of earthy highlights. As I was backstage, it was quite a treat to get up close to the designs and see the unique materials. Designer Megan Pinto was putting the final touches on her earthy gown covered in acorns and pine cones shipped to her by her mother.
Designer Ivy Red’s debut at the show used old Austin Chronicle newspapers to create an oriental strapless gown. On Team Rose Read, designer Allison Lowery created a painted ruffled skirt made out of a common household staple. “I know more about toilet paper rolls than you would ever (want to) know!” Lowery said.
At the end of the show, the judges awarded top honors to Designer Team “Trashy Trio” comprised of designer Gregory Lara, hair stylist Laurie Cornay, and makeup artist Priscilla Gallardo. His garbage bag, Carmen Miranda style bodice looks as real as anything made of fabric. People’s Choice Team, “Ember Fortune” went to designer Megan Pinto, hair stylist Ashley Harrington and model/makeup artist Autumn Duris.
When you are considering throwing out those chip bags, old shower curtains, electronic devices and more, consider recycling OR give it to a designer friend. Trash never looked so stylish.