Walk, walk, trashion, baby: Trashion Fashion show at UAlbany
By DIEGO CAGARA
Nine models worked the narrow runway and it was complete rubbish. And that’s a compliment.
The University at Albany hosted its third annual Trashion Fashion show on April 7 at the Campus Center Ballroom which expressed how one’s trash can become another’s treasure, reusing and turning junk into chic ensembles.
Because of a group of imaginative UAlbany students and staff who put their talented designing skills to use, they fashioned a number of outfits that married style and garbage.
“The [Albany Student Press] newspapers and plastic bags were the most prevalent materials used,” said Cassidy Drasser, program assistant of the Office of Environmental Sustainability (OES), who helped organize the overall event.
It informed the audience about how society could be more sustainable by recycling, reducing and reusing, a theme that received sheer applause and praise by making the fashion show both inspiring and educational.
“[The show] is definitely about raising awareness: reusing and reducing our waste but in a fun way,” said OES Director Mary Ellen Mallia, nicknamed the “Green Queen” by the emcees. “That taps into the creative side but also the idea of looking at things through new eyes, not seeing waste as waste but seeing it in a new light.”
With a packed ballroom, attendance increased this year and the audience was treated to free popcorn, a photo booth, comfortable seating, pulsating lights and a series of final designs that the designers proudly presented after much planning and hard work. The show included performances by a cappella group Earth Tones, Phenomenal Voices and salsa club SalSUNY. The five emcees—Lianna Wilson, Jed Shattuck, Jeudy Ventura, Karl Ravilus and Felix Abreu—and DJ L-Squared entertained the crowd with loud music, environment-related trivia and games that rewarded participants with Chipotle gift cards.
While enlightening, the show was also a competition as each design was evaluated by six judges, who work both in student groups and student services offices, for “overall creativity, construction, wearable quality, presentation on the runway, and attention to environmental sustainability,” according to UAlbany Green Scene’s website. The audience also had the chance to vote under the “Fan Favorite” category and winners took home $150 each.
“If you littered, thank you,” emcee Shattuck quipped. “Thanks for littering, literally!”
Emily Diaz of University Apartments won the Living Areas category with a black top and a long train made with collected ASP newspapers.
Nicholle Gregor of UAlbany Students for Sustainability won the Student Organization category with a Blair Waldorf-inspired schoolgirl ensemble: a brown blazer, green tie and matching skirt, created with secondhand Chipotle bags, cardboard and takeout bags.
For Individual Submission, Julia Salwa created the acclaimed “pixie fairy” outfit in various shades of white, grey and off-yellow. Fitting the model with 75 percent plastic bags and tissues, it was distinguished by its flower-wrapping paper wings and a wand.
Sara Catalano from the Office of Environmental Sustainability won for Campus Office with a “Love Your Mother Earth” T-shirt and a mid-length skirt out of empty bags including Lay’s chips and Skinny Pop popcorn.
The Fan Favorite, voted by the audience, was Kadeija Brown of Indian Quad, taking inspiration from black tie events. Her winning design was an elegant mermaid-esque dress, utilizing black, white and grey plastic bags and an intricately-woven white top.
Co-sponsored by UAlbany Green Scene, Students for Sustainability, Campus Center Connections and University Auxiliary Services, the fashion show concluded with the emcees altogether reminding the audience to “always remember to recycle and be sustainable.”
“We’re hoping for a [fourth] fashion show next year, that’s been always the plan,” said Mallia. “If we get more interest and students who want to participate and send submissions, then we’ll definitely have another one.”
However, she noted that there were only nine design submissions this year which was fewer than last year’s 15. Mallia was concerned if there was still enough interest among UAlbany students but acknowledged this year’s improved attendance, crediting positive word of mouth and social media.
Like last year, Mallia said that the winning designs are being publicly shown in the Science Library’s ground floor this month for the greater UAlbany community to view.