The trend this weekend is: Trash

The hottest trend style for this season, at least for the coming weekend, is recycled paper, junk food packaging, and perhaps some leftover Easter trinkets.
It’s time for the annual Trashion Fashion Show, which will be held Sunday at Hartford City Hall.
The show places on a fashion catwalk a variety of clothing that is crafted from recycled (clean) materials. It’s unconventional fashion created by artists, youths, and other creative-minded individuals. And the message conveyed is a positive one—protecting the environment by reducing waste.
Southington fashion designer Rachel DeCavage has been a fixture at the show since its inception. We caught up with her via email to talk about this year’s show (which is now part of a Trashion Fashion juggernaut organized by Amy Merli that includes events in New York City and Washington D.C.)

OBSERVER: Define trashion fashion as you see it?
RACHEL: Trashion is fashion made from clean waste (trash). Its all about thinking outside the box, being creative and having a passion for the planet.

O: What do you like about the creative opportunities of trashion fashion?
R: Nothing is off limits. There’s an understanding that trashion is more costume than functional fashion– so you can take a lot more creative liberties with styles and material.

O: What materials are your favorites for creating trashion fashion?
R: I’ve used a lot of materials over the years- from plastic easter eggs to inflatable floats to drinking straws to Doritos bags. All of them have come with their own set of challenges and limitations but all have ultimately made me a better artist and designer. I’d say my favorite materials to work with are plastic bags though. Plastic bags are the most evil type of waste- there are millions of bags thrown away every second and they not only pollute our planet, but they kill all types of animals through suffocation, strangulation, and poison after digestion. If i can keep some bags out of the waste stream, the planet is winning.

O: Are there any particular silhouettes that you find more conducive to a trashion fashion dress?
R: I’m a big fan of a short party dress. I like doing a fitted bodice, cinched in waist and crazy skirt. That shape allows for some tailoring (to identify the waste more as fashion)– the cinched waist helps hold the garment on the model – the wild skirt lets the trash express itself.

O: After having participated in Trashion Fashion for a while, what has been your favorite look other than your own that you’ve seen?
R: There was a look in the second show at Artspace (in Hartford) crafted from about 10 dog food bags. it was a formal gown- color blocked with vinyl pet food bags in shades of purple, blue and green. It was not only visually stunning but very well executed and professionally made.

O: Trashion Fashion also has a serious message. What is this event trying to say in more global terms?
R: I think the message is that creativity breeds progress. There are a lot of issues plaguing the world, and it can be overwhelming as one person to truly make a difference. Trashion is a statement about looking outside the box, pushing the boundaries, having fun, and doing what you can, as one person, to make a difference.

O: After having been a part of this for a few years, what has impressed you most about how it started to where it is now?
R: The growth has been exponential. It’s unreal to think about where it began and where it is now. There are many more people involved these days, working very hard to put together a flawless show each year. It’s an honor to be a part of it.

O: And if someone wants to make their own trashion fashion outfit to wear to the show… what tips would you offer?
R: Build it on yourself or on a friend. Trashion doesn’t stretch and form to a person like fabric does. You don’t want to spend weeks making an awesome pair of pants out of parking tickets only to find they would best fit a 6-year-old. Get creative, take risks, and have fun.

The Hartford Trashion Fashion Show will be held Sunday, April 19 at Hartford City Hall, 550 Main St., Hartford from to 1 to 3 p.m. Admission is $10. In addition to the show, there will be vendors, live music, and dancers.
The following weekend, on Saturday, April 25, there will be a Trashion Fashion Soirée from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $50 or a table is $300. The event will feature a cocktail hour with designers and a retrospective trashion design show, live music, dance performancers, and a choreographed runway with trashion designs on models and ballerinas. Food and drink are complimentary.
For more information, go to


Model Sarah Clauson wears one of Rachel DeCavage’s Trashion Fashion designs at last year’s Trashion Fashion show. (MIKE CHAIKEN PHOTO)

Model Sarah Clauson wears one of Rachel DeCavage’s Trashion Fashion designs at last year’s Trashion Fashion show. (MIKE CHAIKEN PHOTO)