Trash Fashion at Alexandria's Earth Day Celebration

Out of a Trashion Show, a fashionista is born

My daughter is part of an environmental club at her school. Over the past several weeks, the club had been gearing up for the Trashion Show, which was part of the City of Alexandria’s Earth Day celebration last Saturday.

Although we had plenty of notice about the show and the various ways in which to participate, we were slow to act. My daughter, who tends to shy away from the limelight, was content to collaborate with others on a costume, but did not want to walk the plank at the Trashion Show. For a couple of weeks she worked away with a team and created a fabulous wedding dress and veil made from used dry-cleaning bags (see photos).

But, as we entered the homestretch, my daughter got the itch! With just two days to go before the event, she decided she wanted to create something a little more elaborate than the sash she created for the wedding dress. The sash evolved into a hula skirt made with the plastic bands that hold the lids onto the boxes that hold copy paper. But, when we actually tried to create the skirt, it just was not coming together well. We had braided strands of plastic bags, the ones in which newspapers are delivered, and hoped to string the plastic bands through the braids, but the bands were too stiff.

Fortunately, I had several months worth of newspaper delivery bags. Have you ever noticed the color variations? They can be quite subtle. Various shades of yellow, gray, orange, green and blue, with a few odd balls in the mix. Individually, they are pretty bland, but when combined, they can be quite festive. We sorted the bags by color and proceeded to tie the bags length-wise to the braided strand, which served as the waistband, and suddenly, we had a skirt.

Feeling even more inspired and determined to use at least one of the plastic bands, we fashioned a loop that she put over her head to serve as the collar for a coordinated blouse.  Inside of a few of the collar pieces, we added some leftover Easter basket grass, from treats that the kids had received from relatives. The grass, for which we were thrilled to find a use, gave the back collar some volume for a slightly more dramatic effect. Finally, on the morning of the show, she and dad created a headpiece.

To my surprise, and hers, this person who was content to stay behind the scenes, had suddenly blossomed into a little fashionista!  By the time we got to the event, although she was nervous, she was also very excited, especially when she caught up with her friends. By the time her group was ready go, she was in the groove.

The Trashion Show was great fun! It’s so inspiring to see what can be created with what we typically see as waste. There were some really spectacular outfits, some of which included handbags, wallets and shoes! It was especially inspiring to see the level of participation by our city's young people, male and female, in an event that highlights an issue so critical to their future and ours - the environment.

Many thanks to all of the adults who support them along the way!


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