That trash is pretty pretty… and fashionable

by MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

It’s become a yearly tradition of fun and creativity.

But Trashion Fashion, which will be presented Sunday, is about more than just letting artists and fashion designers put their creativity to the test.

“Our main mission is to contribute to a global reduction of waste through creative solutions,” explained Amy Merli, the founder of Trashion Fashion. “I believe that through creativity we can reach people to begin to have an honest conversation about our waste streams.”

“After someone sees an elaborate design made from, let’s say K-cups, we can start to talk about that one item,” said Merli.

“On average,” she explained, “a person in the U.S. produces 4 ½ pound ofa trash a day. Many of the items we use everyday are designed for single use,” said Merli.

“I would like people who see Trashion Fashion through our shows, exhibits, social media or attends a workshop or lecture, to leave thinking about how much waste they produce daily and how they can reduce it,” said Merli.

Even though it’s 2017, and Trashion Fashion has long been a staple on the Connecticut (and local arts) event calendar, Merli said it’s message is still necessary.

“We have a lot more to do,” Merli said in an email interview. “We hope that someday we can’t produce a Trashion Fashion event because there isn’t anymore trash. But, we are not in that place. Our recycling rate in the U.S., according to the EPA was at 34.6 percent in 2014, that’s much higher than it’s ever been but it’s not great.”

There has been some improvement since the first Trashion Fashion event in Connecticut

“I feel like there is more awareness of what can be done,” said Merli. “I’ve seen more plastic bag bans in towns throughout the U.S., while other countries have done bans as well like India, France, Bangladesh, and Rwanda. I’ve seen more grassroots initiatives but I’ve also seen more businesses popup that don’t have a care for humans or the planet.”

In recent years, Merli has staged Trashion Fashion events in other communities, such as New York City.

But do these other communities “get” the message?

“Trashion Fashion has a global impact,” said Merli. “We feature designs in our events and exhibits from all over the world because trash is a global issue. When looking for a partner for a venue, sponsorship or to create a custom design we make sure they align with our values. It’s essential to not negate all the efforts we put into carefully researching facts and curating designs based on how materials were sourced.”

With seven years of Trashion Fashion under her belt, Merli said her favorite designsare always the ones that don’t look like trash. I was teaching a workshop in Guilford the other week and while I was showing photos of past designs one of the students said ‘That doesn’t look like trash’ and that’s the point.”

With the show this weekend, Merli said all of the designers have been picked. About half of the designers are returning participants, said Merli.

One of the big changes this year is the change in location for the event. Last year, the show was staged at Hartford City Hall.

“This year, we’ll be at Infinity Hall… in Hartford,” said Merli. “We’re very excited to partner with the great local venue. We also will have music accompanying the runway from a group from the Hartt School that will be using all found objects.”

The seventh annual Trashion Fashion Show will be held on Sunday, April 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Infinity Hall, 32 Front St., Hartford. General admission is $20 in advance, $25 at the door. There also are $50 premier seats, which guarantees a front row or aisle set for the show. Afterward, you can have a meet and greet with the designers with complimentary champagne. Premiere seats are not available at the door.