"Trashion" Show makes a splash at Opal Theatre for 10th year in a row


Michele Rose is not a designer but on Saturday night, she had a three-piece collection walk the runway; not in her native New York's Bryant Park during Fashion Week, but in Cottage Grove as part of the Opal Theater's 10th Annual Trashion Show. 

"Rubbish Renaissance" debuted on Friday, April 21 to a sold out house and continued through Sunday, showcasing 11 designers' work. 

Master of Ceremonies, Charles Mattoon "emerged from an underground space" after crafting his costume as a ninja creature fashioned from a pogo stick, cones, bright red material and other trash that was at his disposal. 

Opal Center Director Leah Murray also created a costume, said to be inspired by government red tape and piles of paperwork. "This year's Rubbish Renaissance marks 10 years of Opal's Trashion shows," she said. "The first show, 'The Truth is Stranger than Fiction' in 2007, changed the path for the organization."

Opal Theatre is a community arts center that invites residents to take part in plays, musicals and this past Saturday, fashion shows. 

Designers of all ages took the theatre up on the  offer and spent months collecting trash and materials to create their masterpieces.  

Carmen Erbele Dowell was one of the first designers to have her pieces walk the runway and made a note to credit her inspiration "Oscar the Grouch." 

"I look back on my childhood and remember the hours of watching 'Sesame Street.' I always loved Oscar the Grouch," she said. "He was so messy and loved his trash and everyone accepted him for how he was and loved him as their neighbor."

Modeling Erbele Dowell's Oscar inspired piece was Monica Venice who has modeled in the show once before and will return to the venue in September. 

"Monica's piece is inspired by the trash bag itself," Erbele Dowell said. "I went to my mom's house and she had bags stuffed with bags all shoved in a closet. She agreed that throwing them away was bad for our environment, but what to do with them? I brought them home and starting weaving and stringing them and voila something beautiful was created."

Intermission saw Mattoon invite the audience up onto the catwalk for an amateur walk. After a bit of coaxing, two members joined him on stage before making way for the models for the second half of the show.

Trashion's two smallest designers, Chevelle Munk and Baleigh Creech stole the show with their designs. 

Creech, an aspiring designer and avid Relay for Life supporter, incorporated cancer awareness ribbons into all three of her designs while Munk's two designs made the most of her fairy theme and available trash she collected over the months. 

Terrisa West, Shiloh Glaspell, Hannah Bevan, Beth Bethsomemore, Stephanie Basham, Hazel Snyder-McCullen and Heather Lahaie also showed designs during Saturday's show. 

The Trashion Show helped raise funds for Opal but according to Murray, ticket sales cover only 40 percent of the theater's operating costs and she asks that the community consider supporting Opal by purchasing a membership or volunteering at events in the future.