Fashion at Binghamton University is garbage. Or at least it was for a night.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi hosted Binghamton University’s first “Trashin’ Show,” where teams dressed up models in outfits made out of reused garbage. Teams were assigned to tables that had random supplies, including ribbons, newspaper, gift wrapping, cardboard tubes, paper bags and other clean pieces of trash. Models from each team sported the costumes, which were designed in 30 minutes.
Guests on a team paid $3 while spectators paid $5. According to Deena Abramson, an organizer and a sophomore majoring in psychology, they made nearly $200 for American Jewish World Service.
Organizers challenged the teams to be bold in presentation.
“Strut your stuff. I will not accept any cowardly walks on the side,” said Traci Rubin, an emcee and a senior majoring in English. “I don’t care if you’re male or female, strut it.”
The two judges from BU’s stand-up comedy club said the stakes were even higher.
“I’m the CEO from the new Jewish fashion website called Booty Schwartz,” said Jordan Siegel, a judge and a junior majoring in chemistry. “I am looking for the next big thing in recycled clothing. Something that pops and not just because it’s trash that falls off.”
Eight teams, including the E-Board of the Hughes Hall and Sigma Beta Rho, all worked to meet the demands of judges and organizers.
Yet even as contestants danced, sang and even crawled on the walkway, they were almost always critiqued.
“You make homeless look so hot,” Siegel said to one model. “Maybe it’s Maybelline, maybe it’s not, but it definitely smells bad.”
One model, simply titled “less is more,” wore only boxers under his new outfit, but not even his bare chest pleased the fashion experts.
“I like how two exposed nipples wasn’t enough, so you had to glue two more on your outfit,” Siegel said. “But ‘less’ is definitely way too much.”
Some acts did eventually draw the judges’ attention. Kyle Streb, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering representing Hughes Hall, threw off his birthday-themed jacket as he danced and shook his body on the catwalk.
Sporting his “birthday suit,” Streb made an early impression on the judges.
“You make me want to have my birthday,” Siegel said. “I want you to jump out of a cake for me.”
Abramson said she had mixed feelings about the judges.
“I liked the costumes, and I thought the judges were really funny. Sometimes they were a bit mean, but it was fun to just see people on the runway,” she said.
The effort earned Streb an award for effort and although he said he was surprised, Streb explained his strategy.
“I was really going for a nice tuxedo look,” he said. “I didn’t have anything else planned. When I got on stage I just went for it and tried new moves.”
Six of the eight contestants were male models who puffed out their chests and presented shirtless and sometimes pant-less designs.
But while man after man was turned away by the judges, the remaining two designs stood out. The only two women in the competition earned first- and third-place rankings.
“We were the underdogs,” said Sarah Chorne, a designer of the winning costume and a junior majoring in human development. “But we made it to the top.”
Sabrina Scull, a junior majoring in environmental studies, appeared to walk onstage in just a large cardboard box as she represented “Passion for Trashin’.”
The judges and audience gasped and cheered when she threw off her cardboard cocoon and revealed a dress made completely out of newspaper.
“It was a lot of fun, but I wasn’t expecting to win,” Scull said. “It’s just cool to be making all this stuff from recycled materials.”
The costume materials were predominantly unused recyclables from school and club events.
“We spent less than $30 on the supplies, and that includes tape and scissors,” Abramson said. “It’s mainly newspapers, wrappings, tubes that we just collected.”
Organizers also hoped the trash would be recycled afterward.
“We are going to bag all the remains we collect and label those bags as recycling. Then we’ll leave them by the recycling bins and hopefully that will work,” Rubin said.
Abramson said the event drew more than 100 people and was very successful.
“We want to make it our annual philanthropy event. It’s our first full year chartered on campus, and this was our first large-scale event,” Abramson said.
Editor’s Note: Darian Lusk, Pipe Dream Release editor and one of the judges at the event, was not involved in the writing or editing of this article.