Trash Makeover Challenge Announces Winner!

It’s the Austin fashion design challenge that puts the ultimate creative process to the test. For the 12th Annual Trash Makeover Challenge 16 designers competed in person and five designers via online for cash prices and bragging rights. The event was finally  back in person since 2020.  And it was finally great to be back at the end of the runway to attend the show!

Design Team The Perfect Mix – Designer Greg Lara

Attendees traveled out of their way from the downtown city glitz to the outskirts of Austin to the Texas Disposal Systems Exotic Wildlife Ranch Pavilion.  The sanctuary is home to nearly 100 different species of animals including some impressive giraffes (that greeted us as we parked) ostrich, elk, deer and that’s just to name a few.  And in keeping with the animal theme guests were also donning their best and fashionable animal print ensembles.

This unique fashion show in support of the Texas Campaign for the Environment featured in-person local designers and a few from out of the Austin area including Florida and South Carolina.  A Plano High School Environmental Club submitted a design as well.

As the models took to the stage to show off each designer’s vision it was clear that everyday items from container lids, broken sandals, pet food bags, scrap fabric, plastic spoons and floppy disks can indeed become wearable art.   Each garment had to be made of at least 90% recycled materials.

Austin designer Greg Lara opted for the go big or go home direction for his Met Gala inspired formal event gown.

“I used thousands of pieces of tissue paper and made them into flowers in golds, creams and blacks. I also used table place settings and cut those to make a belt to separate the top from the actual bodice.   The top was also made out of plastic bags and out of paper runners in gold that you see in there as well,” added Lara.

Third Place – Adeline Loper

In all, it took Lara approximately two months to complete the recycled gown. The hair team with Kasey Ybarra and Makeup artist Alondra Gomez rounded out team The Perfect Mix.

Lara and the team won the People’s Choice award along with a $500 cash prize.

The winning look went to Austin designer Melissa Prentice.  She executed a tailored garment made out of various hospital items.

“We used a combination of EKG leads.  These we picked at the hospital.  My dad passed away of pancreatic cancer a couple months ago so we just kept saving some supplies every time he went into treatment.  And we wanted to make something pretty out of something that was a little bit of a challenge,” added Prentice.

Melissa added an accessory piece to her look creating an additional matching bag covered with he tops of wine bottle lids.  The look was modeled by Misty Dawn Taylor.  The prize-winning look takeaway prize was $3,000.

Check out the entire fashion show photo gallery here.

Second place went to Austin designer Nico Perez.  His model Lexy Rapp modeled the dress made of bouquets of flowers, and miscellaneous gardening net.

Second Place – Designer Nico Perez

The third place spot was awarded to designer Adeline Loper of Wimberley, TX. Her tech flashback garment was a crowd favorite featuring CD’s, floppy disks VCR tapes and trash bags.

Robin Schneider, Executive Director at Texas Campaign for the Environment enjoys the collaboration with the talented designers.  “These designers never fail to amaze me. It breeds new life and excitement into the work that we are doing to help clean up the environment,” added Schneider.

The judges for the event were – Diana Sek, Brand Ambassador, Life Grows Green, Jew Don Boney III, Service Ambassador, Neiman Marcus and Denise Hernández, Judge-Elect of County Court at Law #6, Travis County

Sarah K. Smith, Mrs.Houston Earth USA served as the emcee.

Designer April Garcia

A Fashionably Austin fashion pick for creativity was made by Austin designer April Garcia.  Certainly an eye catcher garment made out of 98 toy capsules, fishing line, bubble wrap, shredded paper, and plastic bags.

It was a nice evening to get back in person and attend a fashion event.  Can’t wait to see what next year has in store from the many talented Austin designers who want to mix fashion with a some eco friendly




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