By MIKE CHAIKEN
The arbiters of fashion might talk a lot of “trash” about what they have seen on the runways and red carpets across the world.
But when the fashion tastemakers step into Hartford’s City Hall on Saturday, and start talking about the “trash-y” designs, they’re probably making more of an objective observation rather than a critique.
That’s because this Saturday is the 3rd annual Trashion Fashion Show, which is put on by the artists and designers in collaboration with The Green Action Team and Evergreen Design Co. The Earth Day-inspired celebration kicks off at 6 p.m. at the Hartford City Hall, 550 Main St., Hartford.
Rachel DeCavage of Southington, the owner of Sugarplum at 98 Main St., Southington, is the driving force behind Evergreen Design Co. (whose mission is “to educate and inspire the public to make environmentally conscious changes to their lifestyle through art, food and culture”). She also has been a participant as a designer in the Trashion Fashion event ever since it was first launched in a tiny art gallery in Middletown.
After packing the joint at ArtSpace in Hartford last year, the event is moving to the larger city hall. Rachel, who is working with Amy Merli in pulling together the show, said there will be 23 designers, 70-plus models, and 20-plus vendors. Last year’s event drew 250 people, Rachel said. This year, there may be as many as 400 people crowding in as designers create dresses out of coffee filters, old newspapers, bottle caps, empty plastic Easter eggs, bubble wrap, and any old trash that’s clean and can be repurposed into a new form.
“People love this event,” said Rachel. “It’s like no other fashion show.”
“I think the dramatic increase in the number of designers and participants speaks for itself,” said Rachel. “People have really jumped on board.”
The event, first of all, is about promoting environmental awareness.
“I love that we can get people excited about re-use,” said Rachel. “Even if the trashion ends up in a landfill someday, it can still exist as a functional piece of artwork and be enjoyed by countless people for years.”
This year, the Trashion Fashion Show has become the cornerstone of several different Earth Day related events in Hartford.
At the Great Hall at Union Station Hartford, for explame, the Earth Day weekend is kicking off on Friday, April 19 with a performance The Machine, presenting the Pink Floyd experience at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 at the door. On Saturday, April 20, the Great Hall is hosting a reggae show with Mighty Mystic, Bigga Haitian, and I Anbassa at 9 p.m. Tickets are $13 at the door.
For more information about both shows, call (860) 24ROCKS.
Earth Day related rallies also are expected this weekend in the capitol city.
The fact that the Trashion Fashion Show is attracting other events, said Rachel, is “amazing.”
“I’m so passionate about the environment and fashion. It feels incredible to have this project become the event that it has. It’s just so important to get the eco message out and I’m so proud to be a contributing part of this show,” said the Southington businesswoman.
Besides the environment, the show also is about supporting the region’s art scene. At last year’s event, there were definitely more artists than “designers” trotting out their work.
“I love being able to create wearable art,” said Rachel, who by day creates her own line of clothing. “So much of what I do as a fashion designer is to create trends and make marketable designs so it’s really nice to have a creative outlet—the crazier the better. This is definitely my favorite fashion show to design for each year.”
When it comes to pulling together her fashion from trash, Rachel said, “I always let the materials dictate what I create. It’s very hard to manipulate a material to work like fabric if it really doesn’t want to.”
“The most important factor is adhesives,” said Rachel. “I always ask, ‘How can I keep this together?’ because most of the time, you can’t sew trashion. You have to build it with tools.”
Proceeds from the Trashion Fashion event will go toward the Sustainable Farm School Scholarship Fund.
The Trashion Fashion Show, which will be hosted by Debbie Allen Wright of Project Closet, is Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Hartford City Hall, 550 Main St., Hartford. The band String Theore will perform. There also will be a special “Stomp” inspired tap show by professional dancers and live hand drummers. The after party at Hartford Bicycle on Arch Street starts at 8:30 p.m.
For more information about the event, go to AmyMerli.com/trashion.
By MIKE CHAIKEN