One person’s trash is another person’s fashion

By Amber Williams

[Image courtesy of]

Pictured above: Participants in the 2015 Trashion Fashion Show

The fourth annual Trashion Fashion Show is coming to the Rigas Family Theater in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts tomorrow night at 7 p.m., and excitement among the designers, models and judges is growing.

The Trashion Fashion Show is an annual event sponsored by St. Bonaventure University’s recyling club, Tread Lightly, as part of their campus recycling movement “Recyclemania.” St. Bonaventure students and faculty work together to convert trash into fashion statements.

Sean Conklin, assistant curator at the Quick Center for the Arts, has been working with Tread Lightly and the Trashion Fashion Show since its debut in 2012.

I think every year the outfits get better,” Conklin said. “People see where other people are finding their inspiration, and they try to one up each other. It’s at the point where I’m waiting for a group of 25 people to come out with these elaborate 40-foot trash bags. People are so creative.”

Unlike past years, there are some differences that will drive the show into a new direction.

We have 15 high school outfits,” said Conklin. “I think that is a really good community connection and a good resource for Bonaventure because obviously we like to work with the local community… So everyone designs his or her own outfit. So the day of the actual show we have eight SBU looks, total, and a look for some are encompassing multiple outfits for one look.”

The cool thing is last year we had a student who competed at the high school level, Jacqueline Philip, she’s a freshman now and she competed at the junior level and now she is competing at the senior level,” he said.

Chernice Miller, Trashion Fashionista 2015

Senior journalism and mass communication and theatre double major Chernice Miller, the 2015 Trashion Fashion Show’s Top Trashionista, believes that high school students will be an incredible contribution to the show.

I’ve seen most of the high school students outfits, and they are really cool,” said Miller. “We do our things separately. They make their designs at schools and then they come for a separate rehearsal.”

With the new creative processes in progress, students are expected to see materials that have never been used. Some of the designs will model ideas based on culture preferences.

There’s a lot of common materials that are seen in the show year after year,” said Conklin. “I think this year speaks to a lot of mainstream culture. A lot of students were telling me that they were going to use CDs and floppy disks. To me, I don’t think of a CD as an old thing; but to them it’s like ‘who uses a CD anymore…’ That speaks to our culture that we’ve moved beyond the need for a CD or a DVD because everything is connected.”

“There are a lot of plastics and cardboards, but those are the basics,” said Miller. “Some of the experimental things we’re using are glow paints. There are blinds, like the shutters are being incorporated into a dress. Then there’s going to be glow lights so expect great things.”

As the process begins for each show, there is always an outcome faculty and students expect when planning and participating.

I love Fashion Trashion show is because with March and April, you are coming off of winter and I feel like so stuck creatively,” said Conklin. “It forces me to jump start my process and you get excited about things and I start to really look at things. I think when you specifically have to start looking at what’s kind of beautiful or have a design interest in garbage; it takes you three times as long. Soon you start to re-appreciate what’s around you on an everyday standpoint.”

“I expect them to be fierce, and I want a challenge,” Miller said. I always get excited form Trashion Fashion because it’s a time where I get to be most creative and sassy without anyone telling me anything. But I want everyone there and to have fun – that is the biggest goal.”

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