Apr 10, 2014
07:41 AM
Style & Shopping

'Trashy' Fashion Show in Hartford: Design Punch, Environmental Message

'Trashy' Fashion Show in Hartford: Design Punch, Environmental Message

Bill Morgan Photography

Who wants to see a “trashy” fashion show?

Wait, it’s not what you’re thinking. In this case, recyclable and discarded materials become ingredients for couture style in the 4th Annual Trashion Fashion Show.

Models will walk – and at times tip toe on pointe shoes – down a recycled runway in the Hartford City Hall next Saturday (April 19), wearing designs created by designers, artists and students.

Recycled art and a nine-foot vertical garden will fill the otherwise austere space. Local Latin band Goza will perform and there will be spoken word and dance performances.

Evergreen Design Co. of Southington has created displays on recycling, repurposing, paper and plastic bags, environmentally-friendly alternatives, natural beauty and generally how to live a more sustainable life for attendees to enjoy. 

This community driven show aims to, “promote environmental awareness through art,” and it’s all the brain child of Harwinton native Amy Merli, a professional dancer with CONNetic Dance, yoga instructor and sustainable event planner.

(Photo from a previous show at right by Steven Laschever.)

“The fashion show is more of a moving art show as opposed to typical fashion show where you feel like you’re doing it for the buyers,” says Merli, called "Trash Master" on the show's wesbite. “I like the runway to be more of a creative runway.” 

This year, the theme is “Recycled Seascape.” Jellyfish, coral and seaweed have been created out of waste at two recent community events – Real Art Ways Creative Cocktail Hour on March 20 and at the CT Science Center’s Liquid Lounge on April 4.

Students from around the state have pitched in by creating recycled decorations for the event.

“It’s exciting and fun and there will be music,” says Merli. “I want people to feel inspired to recycle not feel bad [that they haven’t been recycling.]”

The mission is layered but simple – to create “a bridge between clean waste in our local community and recycled art.”

That includes education about the environment through visual and performance art, forging a connection between students and creative professionals, completing all events with zero waste and donating event proceeds to local sustainability organizations with the purpose of educating youth.

Proceeds from this year's event will provide scholarship funding for children to attend The Sustainable Farm School.

The Trashion Fashion show was born out of the creative and conservationist sides of Merli’s personality. Growing up in Harwinton, where she says there were “more trees than people,” nature became important to her.

“I wanted to make an impact,” she says. “…this is a way we can collaborate.”

The first Trashion Fashion Show was a small affair held at MAC 650 Gallery in Middletown – inspired by a fashion show she saw in New York City. She asked other dancers in her company to walk the runway wearing paper skirts.

Since then the event has only grown. This year Trashion Fashion will have two other runway shows and recycling events – first in Washington, D.C., on May 8 and then in New York City on May 31. (Details for those shows can be found on the Trashion Fashion website. ) 

“The goal is for those shows to be all grassroots and organically mold the show around what’s happening down there,” says Merli.

Tickets for the Hartford show, which will take place on April 19 from 6 to 9 p.m., are available online. General admission costs $20 and VIP tickets, which includes a reception before the event and a tour with Merli, cost $50.

For more information on the show, visit the Trashion Fashion Show website or Facebook page

Contact me by email at khartman@connecticutmag.com and follow me on Twitter, and connect with Connecticut Magazine on Twitter, on Facebook and on Google +

'Trashy' Fashion Show in Hartford: Design Punch, Environmental Message

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