Trashin' Fashion' First Night Fashion Show

The Westport/Weston First Night Trashin' Fashion' Show is a stellar example of how inspired thinking, the Internet, and inter-institutional collaboration can collide to create hip and innovative eco-awareness raising intitiatives.

It all started when artist and chef Daniel Lanzilotta was combing for Spanish trash for his beach scuptures in Biarritz, France. Seeing the refuse as sculptural elements made him think that it could also work for clothing. He wouldn't have an opportunity to explore the idea until Westport/Weston First Night Executive Director Rozanne Gates asked Daniel to come up with an idea that would help the affluent Westport area rethink garbage. A quick web search led Daneil to New Zealand's Trash to Fashion (R) contest -- the country's largest recycled fashion show and a good starting point. Trashin' Fashion' was born.First Night is a network of alcohol-free New Year's Eve events that allow intergenerational celebration of the impending year. In many communities, this means that performing and fine artists are given and audience and funding to show their stuff. In the case of the Trashin' Fashion' First Night project, middle and high school students collaborated with local trade school Gibbs College's fashion students to exhibit their eco-savvy fashion sense.

Irina Simeonova, Gibbs College Fashion and Marketing director, was so excited when presented with the Trashin' Fashion' idea that she reworked the fall semester fashion curriculum. Gibbs students were responsible for overseeing 6 teams of middle and high school students. The younger teams were responsible for collecting trash with design potential and their Gibbs fashion mentors helped them integrate the trash into coherent ensembles. Staples High School student Laura Berk served as a liason between the program and the younger students.

The teams will compete in six different categories on Saturday evening when over 250 celebrants are expected to jam Westport's Town Hall Auditorium to check out the students' creations. Daniel Lanzilotta says, "I hope that people think differently when they leave," with a desire to rethink disposables but also think creatively about waste.

It looks like the Trashin' Fashion' program will influence Westport for years to come. Various middle and high school art science and theater departments have committed to becoming part of next year's program. Westport's new Patagonia store became a sponsor this year and is awarding prizes of gift certificates to the winning teams. While "give a hoot, don't pollute" has its merits, this might be a new generation's template for raising awareness about waste. 3:00 - 5:00 PM New Year's Eve, Westport's Town Hall Auditorium :: Trashin' Fashion'

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