Trashion Show Goes Eco-Chic

Runway show, organized by the student group Green GW, spotlights sustainable fashion.

Trashion
April 01, 2013

By Brittney Dunkins

GW students up-cycled trash bags, tissue paper, cardboard—even a bike tire—into fashion-forward creations for Green GW’s second-annual Trashion Show on March 27 to raise awareness about sustainable fashion.

Juniors Samantha Schnurr and Kostantinos Skordalos, incoming Student Association executive vice president, were the upbeat hosts for the evening, entertaining a crowd of over 75 students that came out to the Marvin Center’s Grand Ballroom to support the “Project Runway”-style competition featuring a runway show of 10 designs, a guest speaker and a dance performance by GW Chamak, an all-female fusion dance team

The judges—sophomore Michael Smith; Julia Susuni, incoming SA president; and alumna Isabella Polles—gave a flirty strapless dress made from H&M shopping bags the coveted “Best Outfit” honor.

“I wanted to get involved because I think it’s important to find out where clothes come from,” said winning designer Socorro Lopez, a sophomore in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. “It took me six hours to put the outfit together.”

“Best Model” and student Joanne Cazeau walked the runway for Sigma Kappa in a newspaper and ribbon skirt accessorized with a cardboard clutch and tinfoil earrings, and the crowd chose a stunning formal dress by student Samantha Hatton as the “Audience Pick.”

Ms. Hatton created and modeled the dress, which featured a bike tire bodice embellished with recycled wine bottle pieces and a billowing trash-bag skirt with a high-low hem and gold accents.

“The objective of Trashion Show was to give a platform for students to exercise creativity in regards to fashion and sustainability,” sophomore and head organizer Irene Kim said. “By making outfits using recycled materials, participants are able to reuse and refashion trash into something beautiful and wearable while reducing waste.”

Ms. Kim, who is also Green GW’s head of policy, brought in Elizabeth Cline, author of the 2012 book “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” to speak about ways to sustain an eco-friendly wardrobe.

Ms. Cline, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based writer, admitted that four years ago she owned 354 items of clothing that were all imported from other countries and made from entirely synthetic materials. She also cited alarming statistics, including a 2012 Greenpeace survey that discovered toxins in 63 percent of brands sold in America.

Ms. Cline urged the crowd to analyze the culture of “fast fashion”—an epidemic, she said, of the current industry in which brands such as H&M, Forever 21 and others mass produce “shoddy” garments at the lowest prices in history.

She also offered tips for decreasing one’s environmental imprint, including purchasing clothing that will be worn regularly; selling clothes online; organizing a donation drive; and shopping on sites such as www.fashioningchange.org, which offers ethical re-imaginations of popular brands and current trends.

“It’s important for people to know that sustainability doesn’t end with food and recycling,” Ms. Cline said. “It’s neat to be a sustainable fashionista, and there are just so many ways to get involved whether you do your own DIY or attend events like this.”

The evening was sponsored by consignment boutiques Buffalo Exchange in Georgetown and Via Gypset, owned by Ms. Polles. 

Trashion 2013

"Best Outfit" design by Socorro Lopez features H&M shopping bags and tabs from cans.

"Best Model" Joanne Cazeau in a newspaper and ribbon skirt.