This past weekend, I served as a stylist and makeup artist in the annual Trash 2 Trends Fashion Show, an event organized by Keep Orlando Beautiful and sponsored by Sea World.
The show’s purpose is to raise money for cleaning up the city of Orlando and the greater Central Florida area.
As such, this fashion show features a bit of a twist for all the designers: their garments are crafted completely from discarded materials.
Thirty-three designers were hand-selected out of a pool of applicants from across the state, and each crafted a look from soda cans, newspaper, trash bags, old maps and atlases, plastic bottles, napkins, shower curtains, scrap metal, old neck ties, cardboard and even shower loofahs. As long as it was headed to the trash, it was fair game.
This is the third year the show has been put on, and the turnout has grown exponentially since its creation.
It was hosted by Doug Ba’auser, Miss Sammy, and Scott Maxwell, with Patty Sheehan, Maxine Earhart, Nailuj Villarroel, and Flora Maria Garcia judging.
There were five winning categories, four of which were decided by the lively judging panel.
These included Best Use of Materials, Avant-Garde, Most Wearable, and Top Design.
The fifth and final award, labeled Audience Choice, was decided by a post-show mingling session with the models and the audience members.
Models, accompanied by their designers, had the chance to walk through the crowds, and the adoring audience was given the opportunity to donate to their favorite design.
The three designs that earned the most in donations were then called to the stage where the final winner was decided by the magnitude of audience applause. Though there was only one final winner for this category, every design earned an amazing amount of money, with the top three bringing in over $600 in the space of fifteen minutes.
All of that fundraising, along with the proceeds from ticket sales and donations from sponsors, goes toward cleaning up The City Beautiful.
The show, held every February, displays some of the most innovative clothing designs and artwork of the year. Local designers fight to be a part of the event, and the show is always packed to the bursting point with excited guests. This year, every seat was filled, and the designers did not disappoint the anxious crowds.
As a stylist, I had the opportunity to step backstage and observe the preparation process, which began at noon and only ended after we were all shooed from the staging area five minutes before the show began at 8:00 p.m. Designers were running about constantly, grabbing final touches for gowns, cleaning up loose ends, or, in one case, even spray painting the plastic gown after the model was already in the garment.
There were model calls for rehearsals, tendrils of steam from dozens of curling irons and straighteners, and a constant cloud of hairspray that followed us everywhere.
Long tables were filled with every color of every brand of makeup imaginable, and racks upon racks boasted gorgeous gowns crafted from recycled materials.
I had to laugh as I watched the chaotic preparations and overheard things like “Don’t worry, I brought my soldering iron,” or “Does anyone have pliers?” followed by dozens of hands shooting up from other designers.
I even found myself partaking in the unique prep work for this particular runway as my designer’s model had a last-minute malfunction and we were forced to prowl the crowds for a hot glue gun.
We all had a running joke by the end of the day: Only at Trash 2 Trends would it be normal to see someone taking a blowtorch to a piece of clothing.
This incredible runway show displayed some of the most amazing wearable art imaginable, earning gasps from the crowd each time a new look made its way onto the runway.
I was honored to be a part of this beautiful event, and I encourage everyone who is able to attend next year to do so. A fun night of fancy clothes, amazing food, exciting raffles, and beautiful dresses awaits you.