Fashion Maven: A chance to reuse my recycled fashion

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By Alexandra Hehlen

I thought that the dress I made from recyclable materials had seen its first and final audience after I modeled it on the runway at the Los Alamos Trash Fashion Show in September. I was wrong.
In October, I found myself signing up for the Trash Fashion and Costume Contest, Nov. 2 at the Santa Fe Convention Center, as a part of the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival.
The festival includes a recyclable art fair and hosts the largest trash fashion show in the United States. This year was the 14th contest.
On the day of the show, I left immediately after school with my dress, makeup and spare craft materials piled into the trunk of my car. I guess you could say I literally recycled my dress, because I was going to model it at a second show.
At the convention center, I was given ample time to put on my dress, which is not an easy feat. A panel of several judges interviewed me and I explained to them in detail the materials I used and how I sewed and glued the recyclable components together, to create my dress.
Tickets to the show were sold and models walked across a raised catwalk, in a large room that also housed the recyclable art fair.
All the contestants took their turns to strut down the runway, while the emcee read each participant’s bio and outfit description.
The ensembles were stunning and creative. One teen designed a fitted dress from rubber tubing, while another woman crocheted old cassette tapes into a fitted 1920s-inspired dress.
I saw full-length gowns made completely from cut-up magazines; colorful dresses that looked like giant tissue paper loofahs; a whimsical gown made from an old boat sail; a skirt that was created by stapling sanding disks together into a scale-like pattern; and a bustier of a dress made completely from cigar bands.
I made many new friends that have similar interests, such as fashion. Every contestant at the show was as passionate and excited about their outfits as I was about mine, which made for a creative and exuberant atmosphere that I enjoyed being a part of.
I was placed in the “teen” category with two other girls.
After the show, awards were announced and I placed third in my category.
I encourage anyone with a love for recycling, sewing, designing, fashion or art to participate in both the Los Alamos trashion show and the Trash Fashion and Costume Contest at the Santa Fe Convention Center next year.
You don’t need to be an experienced in sewing or designing to participate — there were fabulous outfits made of plastics and cardboards that were completely glued together.
After modeling my dress at two fashion shows, I got a feel for how durable my dress had to be, what other fabulous designers I was up against and how to create a stage presence.
Given the fact that I loved doing both shows in Los Alamos and Santa Fe, I will certainly participate in them again next year.
I’ve already got ideas and materials for my next dress, but that’s a secret that won’t be revealed until next year’s fashion shows.

To see some images of me on the catwalk at the show, view pictures of my dress, or send me ideas for my next fashion column, visit my blog at enstylopedia.tumblr.com. To get more information about the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival, visit recyclesantafe.org.