Arts fashion show review

One designer’s trash is another’s treasure

Trashion Show 2018 graces us with fashionable and sustainable designs on the runway

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Cynthia Gu models "Caroline," a dress she made from food packaging, during the annual Trashion Show held on Nov. 30 at Walker Memorial.
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Drag King Lana El Rey (Natalie Osuna) models one piece from "Expressions," a tribute to the LGBTQ community designed by June Kim, during the annual Trashion Show held Nov. 30 at Walker Memorial.

Trashion Show
Walker Memorial Morss Hall
Hosted by UA Sustainability
Nov. 30

With the fashion industry leaving one of the largest global footprints in the world, UA Sustainability seeks to raise awareness for environmental issues in its student body. And what better way than a fashion show? Last Friday, the seventh annual Trashion Show took place in Walker Memorial. It was organized and hosted by UA Sustainability to promote waste reduction and sustainability on the runway. The show featured the creative styles of 17 designers, and 19 models strutted down Morss Hall wearing trash and various plastics, metals, paper, and recyclable materials not usually associated with high couture.

Sam Magee, Jessica Rosencrantz ’05, and Professor John Fernandez were judging to decide the top three designs and the “Next Top Model.” Rosencrantz ’05 was an  undergraduate at MIT, majoring in biology and architecture, co-founded Nervous System, and is now working as a designer and artist. Sam Magee is manager of the student arts programs including the Arts Scholars, the Creative Arts Competition, the MIT START Studio, and the Grad Arts Forum. “It’s always a blast to judge this,” Magee said during the show. Finally, Fernandez is a professor in the Department of Architecture and Director of the Environmental Solutions Initiative. He discussed plans to highlight some of the Trashion Show designs during Earth Day Week.

The elegant black mermaid dress (“Curtain Call”) was stunning, resembling a well-fitting dress despite being made from a reused trash bag, curtain, zipper, and snaps. I wasn’t alone in my opinion; the design won the Audience Choice Award that night.

The evening opened to “Warnings: Contents are Hot,” designed by Sammi Cheung and Parth Shah. Model Jay Hesslink showed off leafy suspender straps and skirt with a leafy crown made of realistic looking leaves and twigs. Cheung and Shah explained they “created leaves out of coffee cup sleeves” in their design description, pointing towards the waste of coffee cup sleeves that we take for granted. Not surprisingly, the design won “Most Compostable.” Other category winners include “Garden” award winner “Agricorporate Chic” (Designed by Garrett Souza, modeled by Helen Abadiotakis), an earthy design that reminded me of pastoral scenery; “Outreach” award winner “Caroline” and “Book Jacket” won Most Creative from the Special Projects subcommittee.

I was also impressed by “Expressions,” made from origami paper and used printer paper. The two models, Drag Queen Veruca Dahl (Anthony Martorell) and Drag King Lana El Rey (Natalie Osuna), confidently posed for the camera in a white mermaid dress and a skirt (respectively), both made of cascading paper and a painted rainbow design. Designed by June Kim, the “two outfits [were] designed as a tribute to the LGBTQ community [...] in hopes to inspire people to express their identity without shame.”

My favorite design is the winner of the “Most Shiny” award: “Yin Yi Wei.” Designed by Xiqing Wang and modelled by Sonja Lindberg, the name is a play on words with the literal Chinese translation, “silver clothes.” The design, featuring a stylish silver dress and silver shield, was inspired by the uniforms of the Chinese secret police that served the Ming dynasty emperors. As designer Wang explains, “I order groceries from Amazon Fresh, and they always come in metallic bubble wrap [...]. I’ve been saving them throughout the semester, waiting for an idea to use them.”

The judges voted “Guilty Pleasure” model Miguel Sandoval as Best Model of the night, with the design “Ying Yi Wei” coming in at third, “Expressions” in second, and “Caroline” in first. The night featured great dedication and work by these designers and showed that fashion inspiration is not without environmental consciousness.