Candy wrappers, old Iowa State Daily newspapers and plastic forks are not usually the materials used to design clothes for a typical fashion show. But that was not the case in the first-ever “Trashion Show” in Ames on April 25.
Students in the class Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management 222, a creative thinking and problem-solving course at Iowa State, put on a fashion show at Aveda Serenity Couture salon at North Grand Mall featuring their own garments, created from recycled items to raise awareness for environmental issues in celebration of Earth Month.
Cassie Bexton, community outreach coordinator at the salon and ISU event management graduate, contacted Elena Karpova, associate professor of apparel, events and hospitality management, in January and suggested the fashion show idea as a final project.
Karpova, who already had her syllabus for the semester set, agreed to make room for the final project.
“The fashion show was a great outlet for students to exercise their creativity. They did research on environmental issues then came up with the materials and designs for their projects, and they were excited about it,” Karpova said.
Many environmental issues were represented in the ensembles, such as reducing paper waste by using e-books and recycling paper. One of the outfits even featured a dress made up of junk mail, and suggested that companies that send it should be responsible for planting trees to replace all the paper wasted. Food waste and paper waste in the restaurant industry was also addressed during the show.
“I thought it was a terrific night. The girls did a good job putting everything together. The objective of this show was entirely different from a traditional fashion show, and it was good to bring awareness to these issues,” said audience member Cheryl Howardton.
At the end of the night, three categories of winners were announced.
“Most Couture“ design went to Mallory Roseen, whose design featured a newspaper dress with rosettes.
“Best In Show” went to Ji Hwuang and SoWoon Park, who created a dress made out of forks.
“Most Impactful for Issue Awareness” was awarded to Chelsea Chapko and Tory Pfannkuch. Their dress was made out of Starburst wrappers.
“On the first day of working we decided that most trash is little things, like gum or candy wrappers. No one really notices these things and it’s easy to litter, but they really add up and we wanted to show that,” Chapko said.
Pfannkuch added that they wanted their design to be colorful and memorable, so they used 1,000 Starburst wrappers on their dress.
All in all, 20 models and 48 students participated in the event.
“Every penny raised tonight goes to a good cause. I know for a fact we raised over $1,000 dollars tonight. It exceeded my expectations,” Bexton said.
All proceeds from the night goes to the Audubon Society, which will support clean water projects in central Iowa.
As for future Trashion Shows, Karpova said she hopes to continue to partner with the salon again.
“Designing is cool, but what impact can you make?” Karpova said.