Campus community makes (recycled) fashion statement

Release Date: 2/26/2013

Last year, more than 100 people watched as students, faculty, and staff displayed stunning articles of clothing fashioned entirely out of recyclable materials during Ozarks' first Recycled Fashion Show. This year, OzARTS, the university's art club, hopes to set the bar even higher.

Ozarks' second Recycled Fashion Show is scheduled for 7 p.m. on April 17 in the Rogers Conference Center. Associate Professor of Art and OzARTS Advisor Tammy Harrington is helping to organize the event.

Jessica Root's winning design.

Emily Gorham models a dress designed by Jessica Root that took first place in the inaugural Recycled Fashion Show last year.

"The idea for a recycled fashion show came from former OzARTS President Elizabeth Di Paolo," Harrington said. "She thought it would be a great way to talk about the environment and the importance of recycling, but in a creative and fun venue."

That first venture into the world of recycled fashion was a huge success.

"When we decided to take it on last year, we just wanted to see how well we could do," Harrington said. "We wanted it to be a fashion show, but also a competition. Last year, we had around 12 entries. They were not all art majors, either. I was excited to see students from various disciplines participating. We want to encourage that again this year."

The goal of the Recycled Fashion Show is to give everyone on campus a chance to stretch their creative legs and think outside the typical restrictions of clothing material.

"The contestants can't use any fabric or things you would associate with fabric. No leathers or blankets. That's the challenge. You can use anything that is considered recycling: glass, plastics, newspaper, paper, magazines, cardboard… anything non-fabric," Harrington explained.

"For example, last year, one of our contestants worked in the Eagle's Nest Café. She saved all of her order tickets, folded them into origami shapes and fashioned a dress from them. It was a really interesting and different approach. Part of the challenge is to find things to add visual interest."

According to Harrington, each design should be at least 85 percent recycled material, with the rest made up of material essential for keeping the design together, such as tape and string.

Recycled fashion created by Anaeli Rodas.

Brianny Pupo shows off a dress designed by Anaeli Rodas made out of recycled order tickets. The dress won second place in last’s year competition. The second Recycled Fashion Show is scheduled for April 17 in the Rogers Conference Center.

Contestants can have a model wear their clothing or model their own designs. The only stipulation is that the designs be tasteful, with the models covered in the appropriate places. Faculty and staff are encouraged to enter the show as well.

"One thing we didn't emphasize enough last year was that faculty and staff are welcome to make things for the show too," Harrington said. "Faculty and staff entries wouldn't be included in the competition, but they could show their work during the show."

In fact, Harrington has already begun the process of designing her entry for the fashion show. Her "Queen of Hearts" dress, with Dr. David Strain as her model, was the surprise of the event last year.

"For me, this offers a creative pursuit that is so different from what I usually do. It's great.  Dr. Mikael Lindström has agreed to be my model for this year. I think we are going to go for a gladiator theme," Harrington revealed.

Harrington encourages contestants to design male fashions, if they so choose.

"You don't necessarily have to design outfits for females," she said. "Contestants are encouraged to think of other avenues for fashion as well. The goal is to think creatively around the materials you're limited to. Shop thrift stores for inspiration. Save candy bar wrappers and chip bags. The possibilities are endless."

Entry materials are available now and must be submitted by April 8. Contact Harrington at tharring@ozarks.edu for more information.