Let us know how we're doing! Take Pipe Dream's Readership Survey

Binghamton University fashion show turns trash trendy

NYPIRG, Poverty Awareness Coalition charity event raises money for hunger, homelessness

What are the latest trends to hit the runway? Sunday afternoon, the answers were recyclable materials and raising awareness.

A rack of Trashion Show apparel hangs in waiting for models. New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) and the Poverty Awareness Coalition (PAC) held the Trashion Show, in which teams of students displayed their designs made out of recycled materials.

New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) and the Poverty Awareness Coalition (PAC) held a Trashion Show, in which teams of students displayed their designs made out of recycled materials.

Ten contestants had one month to get their trash creations ready to send down the runway. The outfits were made out of different recycled materials, including newspaper, trash bags, empty tissue boxes and old holiday decorations.

The variety of material used to create the outfits also highlighted the issues of recycling and sustainability by showing how items normally deemed trash can be repurposed. Rebecca Pepe, the president of PAC, praised the creative uses of trash in the designs.

“We know how much overconsumption Americans tend to have, and we’re trying to showcase that in a really artistic way,” said Pepe, a senior majoring in anthropology. “Take a look at all the trash you have and see what cool ways you can use it when others are living without.”

Contestants were faced with challenges when creating their trash outfits. For designer Allen He, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, the hardest part of the process was fitting his dress to his model, Meegan Petrucci, an undeclared freshman and member of PAC.

“I just made it and hoped that someone would fit it,” he said. “I had my fingers crossed.”

Despite the challenge of using trash to create an outfit, contestants said they enjoyed the experience and would participate in another Trashion Show.

“Fashion is fun,” said Sylvia Lam, a sophomore majoring in sociology. “This isn’t an event you get to do every day.”

Lam’s design, modeled by Lori Greenblatt, an undeclared freshman, took first place. The dress was made out of newspaper, electrical tape and a plastic bag.

Danica Vasa, a sophomore double-majoring in environmental studies and psychology, voted for Lam’s dress on the ballot given to audience members.

“It was well-designed, I really liked the electrical tape outline,” Vasa said. “It was pretty; it looked like a dress that someone would wear.”

He’s design, which featured tissue paper, spoons and beads, came in second place. Designer Raffaella Glasser’s dress came in third place. Glasser, a sophomore majoring in English, used newspaper, magazines and bottles to construct the dress modeled by Erin Stolz, a sophomore majoring in geography.

According to Pepe, PAC raised $50, which was about half of the total money raised, with the other half going to NYPIRG. Money raised came from the $2 admission, donations and raffle ticket sales.

The proceeds from the event went to the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse, or CHOW, a food pantry that services the Binghamton area; Bridges to Community, a nonprofit organization that brings volunteers to developing countries; and All Saints Soup Kitchen in Johnson City.

“It’s important to acknowledge how many people are hungry and homeless in the world and us being fortunate enough to be university students have some sort of power in our hands that we should give back with it,” said Julie Quinn, a senior majoring in history.

Ashley Paynter, the project leader for NYPIRG’s hunger and homelessness initiative, said the Trashion Show was a fitting way to bring awareness to the issues of hunger and homelessness.

“It’s the most humbling way to raise money,” said Paynter, a sophomore majoring in biology. “You’re just literally using recyclables, and it’s really interesting and really creative.”

Pepe said she was interested in holding trashion shows in the future.

“I think it’s a really exciting program and as we keep having them throughout the years, they will gain greater steam and more momentum so I think this is just the start of it,” Pepe said.