One Man's Trash is Another Man's Outfit | Art Watch | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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One Man's Trash is Another Man's Outfit

Rubbish Renewed Eco Fashion Show turns five



The rules are simple for Bend's Rubbish Renewed Fashion Show, a trash-to-treasure design contest and benefit for Rimrock Expeditionary Alternative Learning Middle School (REALMS): use garbage.

Using repurposed materials, students, alongside amateur and professional designers, are asked to create runway quality outfits in the style of "Project Runway's" unconventional materials challenges. Entries are labeled Trash-fashion garments—those that are composed of 90 percent material destined for the trash or recycle bin—or Re-fashion, garments that are made from repurposed fabric.

"We ask that garments fit the use of materials criteria, and further the sustainability mission, show innovative techniques and creative expression, and have quality construction," explained Karen Holm, REALMS Teacher, and the event producer and designer. "We started the Rubbish Renewed Eco Fashion Show as a fundraiser for REALMS because, as our mission states, our 'purpose is to foster scholarship, strengthen community, and inspire stewardship through active learning.' With that at the heart of REALMS education, when we came up with this crazy idea, a trash fashion show, it felt like the perfect fit. The event is a way for us to actively showcase sustainability and creativity through connecting community. The Rubbish Renewed tagline is: Transforming trash and inspiring community for a more sustainable earth."

The show, now in its fifth year, is as didactic as it is fun. And designs use everything from plastic bags, to bottle caps, to newspaper to create spectacular and innovative garments. N. Spekktor, a local fashion and graphic designer who traveled the West Coast in 2014 showcasing her non-trash bathing suit line and collaborating with art collectives, has participated in the show since its start.

"The biggest challenge for me personally is collecting material each year.

In 2014, it took about eight months to collect enough plastic Safeway bags for the dress I designed."

"This year, I started my piece in November 2014," she explained. "I began collecting old mesh laundry bags for the base of my garment and will be hand stitching real plant life onto the gown. My inspiration came from Jamie at String Soil."

"She came to me in the spring of 2014 with an idea for a living garment and our collaborative design began to grow."

This year's show will strive to continue a tradition of sustainability.

"I am most excited about the shifts we are making to be a more environmentally sustainable event," said Holm. "As we continue to work towards 'zero waste' with the help of Rethink Waste, we plan to lessen our compost and recycling this year. We have Rubbish Renewed branded mason jars to purchase at the show for your drinks. Also streamlining our Business Challenge voting process—hopefully next year we will use text-to-vote—voters will vote with their show wristbands. Then next year our community garment will be constructed of these."

See more photos of past fashions at

5th Annual Rubbish Renewed Fashion Show

6 pm (all ages) & 8:30 pm (21+)

Thursday, Jan. 15

The Armory, 875 SW Simpson Ave.


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