Campus gets trashy

Models dressed in trash bag tops and toilet paper skirts hit the runway last weekend for Allegheny’s second annual Trashion Show, hosted by Students for Environmental Action.

Trashion designers compiled outfits from items that would have otherwise been thrown away, such as plastic bags, cardboard, flower pots and broken umbrellas. The Trashion Show committee organized the event to highlight how easy it can be to reuse items that are normally thrown away.

Although the show featured outfits from individual designers, there were also group submissions, including ensembles from the Grounds for Change crew, Ravine Hall, and the Association for Asian and Asian-American Awareness.

The Grounds for Change team designed apparel from used café items such as coffee filters, milk containers and empty bottles, while the Ravine models sported tops and skirts composed of potato chip bags and soda boxes.

The Association for Asian and Asian-American Awareness compiled an outfit with a contemporary Asian culture theme. The group made shorts from fortune cookie wrappers and take-out boxes and also designed a top from Japanese food packaging.

A panel of professors and faculty members judged the show. First place was awarded to Anne Krol,’13, and Elizabeth Boykiw,’11, who won first place for their dress made of cups, plates and utensils from admissions events. Freshman designer Pedro O’Campo, ’14 nabbed second with dresses composed of Capri Sun packages and candy wrappers. Grounds for Change models Gabrielle Harrington,’13, and Ian Colley,’12, placed third.

Visiting Environmental Science professor Kate Darby, one of the judges, explained that sustainability and waste reduction underpin economic, environmental and social concerns.

“No matter what career path students choose, they’re going to encounter these issues,” she added. “It’s refreshing to see students putting together an event that is creative and fun while still promoting environmental issues.”

Although the show focused on entertainment and innovation, organizers hoped for a serious take-home message.

Roma Panganiban, ’13, who designed a wedding gown and bridesmaid’s dress from plastic bags and toilet paper packaging, explained that gathering materials for the outfits impacted her views on consumption.

Panganiban collected about ninety toilet paper packages over two weeks, and used around fifty of these packages for the dresses.

“I was shocked by the sheer amount of toilet paper, as indicated by the wrappers, that thirty to forty girls went through in so little time,” she explained. “From now on, we’ll have a container to recycle the wrappers and cardboard rolls.”

However, Eco-Rep Kritika Kapadia pointed out that recycling alone cannot negate the impacts of consumerism; recycling

requires materials to be


reprocessed, which consumes additional resources.

Society utilizes massive amounts of resources to produce durable products, yet a mere 1 percent of these products are used six months after their purchase. Simply reusing products is much more sustainable than recycling the materials.

“We students do not have to be part of a rat race to get on top of the increasing trash pile,” said Kapadia in an e-mail interview. “We need to rethink the system and put forward alternatives that prioritize personal relationships, community and global interconnections and a sustained, cradle-to-cradle economy.”

Students for Environmental Action and the Eco Reps hope to spread their message to a wider audience by holding the show annually.

“The Trashion Show made me realize that what we think of as trash can be seen as something beautiful and fun,” said model Christina Mucci, ’13. “So why does it have to be trash?”