Seven-year-old Gabby Dobyns is very proud her dress she made with her mother. “It’s made of paper, cardboard, and some soda cans,” she said. She also used love notes her mother packs in her lunchbox every day. This was her second time competing against many other girls in Santa Fe – all of them wearing fashions made of trash.
An annual 3-day event celebrating the importance of recycling, the Recycle Trash Fashion and Costume Contest is part of the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival, the largest and oldest recycled art market in the United States. “It’s a way to have recycling and art combine for a fun experience where you can reuse material,” Sarah Pierpont, the coordinator of the event, said, “And also raise awareness about the wastefulness of our society in a creative and innovative manner.”
The fashion show is not just for kids; people of all ages come to participate and watch this event. Almost all of the models designed and made their ensembles themselves – and did a stupendous job on them. From a distance, you can’t tell the clothes were made of recycled materials, and you’re dazzled by the colors, patterns, and textures.
In the dressing room before the show, contestants donned their outfits in a flurry of excitement. With the help of her friends, 11-year-old Gigi had made a cybernetic jellyfish costume out of packing materials, plastic, cardboard, and CDs. Yatziry brought her ice queen outfit made of trash bags and bubble wrap. Brittney, one of the winners in the youth section, wore a dress made almost entirely of cereal boxes.
Teachers also participated, like Annika Rogers, who made a wedding dress entirely out of paper. “I used to watch ‘Project Runway’, and they had a wedding dress made out of Hallmark card paper,” she said. “I thought it was a great idea to make something to that extent, but different in my own way.” Most of the contestants were girls, but there were a few men, like Drew Johnson, who wore a kilt with a vest made of circuit boards.
Before the fashion show, the models’ outfits were judged. Kitty Ault, who has been a judge for 5 years, said that judging the show is a wonderful experience. “The authenticity of the recycled materials just blows my mind,” she said. When the show began and the models walked down the runway in their flamboyant outfits, you could really see the creativity of the designs and how different they are from each other.
The Recycle Trash Fashion and Costume Contest is a very original event. It makes you realize how much you can do with your trash. Looking at all those creations, you can’t help thinking very differently about the value of recyclables! If you missed this one, plan to visit Santa Fe next year for the 20th anniversary event!