By Julie Thibodeaux
Models typically turn heads at style shows but the models at the Green Fest Recycled Fashion Show on Friday in downtown Dallas made onlookers do a double take. That was the purpose as designers showcased garments made from everything from old credit cards to discarded saccharine packages to make a green fashion statement.
Left to Right
Grand Prize Winner: Shower Curtain Dress – 11 year old Kate Chandler (model Heather)
Newspaper Dress – Claire Stuart Meine - Video Tape Top – Kim Mackey - Lego Man – Jeremy Seiger (model Judy)
Left to Right
Sweet and Low Dress – Margie Gomez - Billboard Raincoat – Dayna Cowley
Credit Card Dress – Margie Gomez (model Dominque) - Red Solo Cups Dress – Ashleigh Riley (model Rashida) - (not pictured) Lamp Shade Sock Skirt – Diana McDonald
Since 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Dallas office has hosted the quirky style show to bring awareness to the importance of conserving resources. “We try to make people think about recycling and what they can do with used items,” said Jenaie Franke, an environmental protection specialist for the EPA. “We want to get people to reduce their carbon footprint.” According to Cathy Bius, an EPA training coordinator and one of the show’s organizers, the first year they held the show, staff members in each department made outfits for their managers.
“We made a shawl for our boss to wear out of old blue jeans,” said Bius. The next year, they opened the contest to the public and invited local university and high school design students to participate.
This year the event was sponsored by Downtown Dallas Inc. It has been held at other eco-festivals throughout the years. This was the show’s debut at Green Fest. Each year, the designers have ramped up their creativity -- gathering everything from corn chip bags to puzzle pieces for material. Yogurt lids, napkins and an old wedding dress also provided inspiration for contestants over the years.
One of the designers this year made her dress from hundreds of empty saccharine packages, which took meticulous planning. "She told me every morning when she had coffee with her husband, she opened each package uniformly,” said Bius. Yulonda Davis, an EPA environmental protection specialist who helped launch the contest, said photos don’t show the intricate details of the outfits, which are often expertly put together. “Photos don’t do them justice,” said Davis. “You really have to see them up close.”
Bius agreed, adding that some of their designers have gone on to professional success. One of their early contestants was a University of North Texas student who made her first outfit from Mardi Gras beads. “She went on to be on ‘Project Runway,’ said Bius. “She has served as one of our judges.”
The contest, which as drawn as many as 30 entries, featured two categories: novice, for less experienced, and designer, for fashion students and professionals. The winners received cash prizes, up to $500 dollars for the Grand Prize won by 11 year old Kate Chandler for her shower curtain dress. This year, all but one of the eight entries was in the novice category, but the fashions were outstanding nonetheless. “I was impressed with the outfits and creativity,” said Bius. “Each one was unique.”
Photos: Phillip Shinoda - Green Source DFW
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Julie Thibodeaux is a Fort Worth-based writer covering environmental issues, green topics and sustainable living. Previously, she worked as an editor and writer at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Contact her at [email protected].