By Ryan O’Connell
Fashion Club held a “trashion show” - a fashion show featuring garments constructed with unconventional materials - in the Dwight Performing Arts Center Nov. 8.
The trashion show included pieces from 11 designers who contributed to a diverse lineup of dresses in both style and material. Designs ranged from garments made of leaves to duct tape, and being short skirts to having long trails dragging along stage.
Following the models group runway, each designer had the opportunity to give a brief description of how the submission was made.
The 11 participants were then evaluated by a judge, and three winners were chosen - two by the judge, and the third place recipient by the audience.
The first place winner, Melanda Alcuis, said she was surprised to have won.
Alcuis, a junior fashion design and retailing major, said she was shocked partly because she had to change her vision for her dress far into the design process.
She said her dress - a corset molded to her body shape using tape and saran wrap with a trash bag skirt - had to have its visual appearance changed at the last minute due to the fragility of the material - leaves.
“I wanted to make a gradient - start with red, green, yellow, orange, all those colors. But my leaves kept changing color and they turned gray,” she said.
Alcuis said she got advice for working around this from her mother and a friend at school.
The suggestions included attaching fake flowers to the corset, she said, using the colorful leaves she already had near the torso, and having the leaf pattern fade into the plain black trash bag as it crept down.
Alcuis said although this was her first trashion show, she participated in the 2023 Spring Fashion Show, and said again she was stunned to have won.
“I know I should’ve just kept my reaction very humble, but I was shocked,” she said.
Sam Reynolds, a junior fashion design and retailing major, said she had a good time creating as well as working with a close friend as her model.
Reynolds, who described her dress as being made from masks and bags, said she was inspired by Chanel and other high-end fashion companies.
She said the closures - how the dress fits to a wearer, traditionally a zipper, button, or even staples - were the most difficult part as typical methods of sealing it were not allowed by the trashion show’s rules.
In the end, “I glued the top part and then I put a ribbon [and knotted it] really tight,” she said.
Reynolds said she’s very happy with the way the dress came out, and loved working with Bella Raeside, a longtime friend, who she admits she bothered quite a bit during construction.
“I kept bugging her a lot, I’m like, ‘Come here please I need to try this on you,’” she said.
Reynolds said this was her first fashion event, and was happy to be involved. She added she’s excited to be participating in the 2024 Spring Fashion Show as well.
Kat Wilder and Aili Schiavoni, sophomore fashion design and retailing majors, contributed jointly on an entry, another dress built from leaves.
In addition, Wilder also submitted a dress resembling a Monarch butterfly. This garment, she said, she had made out of duct tape a few years ago for a scholarship competition run by Duck Brand duct tape.
Wilder, who the two said originally came up with the design last year, worked with Schiavoni and other friends to bring the dress to life for the trashion show, which Schiavoni modeled.
“It’s the perfect timing with the trashion show being in November and all the leaves changing and everything. And so we would just go around picking up a bunch of leaves,” Wilder said.
“Climbing trees,” Schiavoni interjected.
Schiavoni added they ran into difficulty working with leaves too, as they would dry up by the time more had been added. She said they discovered they could wrap the leaves in saran wrap and apply wet paper towels, however, to extend the leaves' life.
Wilder and Schiavoni both said they were proud to see the dress come together, and they stayed up early into Wednesday morning preparing the dress on the final night.
“When you make something and you see it come together, it doesn’t matter how tired you are. You just want to see it happen,” Schiavoni said.