‘Fashion Funk’ takes runway at Trashion Show

Charles Mattoon charges up the audience with this year’s version of Sal the Cyborg at Saturday’s Trashion Show in Opal Theater.

It’s not every fashion show one might find a post-apocalyptic, steam-punk cyborg emceeing the event. Then again, not every fashion show creatively covers its models in garbage.

Opal Theater’s 2019 Trashion Show put reusable, fashionable rubbish on display Saturday night to a sold-out house.

The two-hour show exhibited the talents of 10 designers’ garbage-infused lines. A total of 21 models in 33 different outfits strutted the catwalk and sashayed past front-row audience members in a night of thought-provoking entertainment.

Putting on the show right before Earth Day was no coincidence. This year’s theme was “Junk, Gunk, Fashion Funk.”

“We’re really trying to highlight the junk and gunk part – the amount of the trash that is out there,” said Michele Rose, show producer and designer of her own line. “We’re trying to focus on the plastics and things that are not recyclable and to heighten awareness in our community. We’re making an educational statement, but making it fun at the same time."

The Trashion Show message revolves around reusing, recycling and creative repurposing. Perhaps most importantly, though, is the message of awareness.

“We need to be aware of what we’re buying and how its packaged,” said Rose.

As the owner of The Crafty Mercantile, Rose is keenly informed on just how hard it is to live without packaging and plastics. “My store probably sees about 50 dresses-worth of bubble wrap per year,” she said. “They won’t ship it any other way. ... Enough people have to speak up and say, ‘No, don’t do this.’”

The Trashion Show featured a range of costume designs stitched, sewn and glued together with materials including shower curtains, balloons, plastic water bottles, trash bags, utensils and virtually any other item one might expect to find in a trash can.

“Our Trashion Show is unique in that it really is all trash. There’s no upcycling,” said Rose, referring to a clothing design process by which old clothes like t-shirts and pants are repurposed.

Terrisa West designed and modeled her own pieces. It was far from her first time.

“I was in a group of women who were the founders of the Trashion Show,” she said. “I love the creativity of it and the message.”

West echoed the point that people ought to be more mindful of their purchasing and disposal habits. “It’s a double-edged sword because it’s great to be creative but the fodder is endless,” she said. “I just feel its so crucial that people pay attention to what they use and try to do better.”

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