Have you ever wondered what happens to your rubbish when you order a Beebag from Clearabee and schedule a rubbish removal pickup? Well, as it turns out, some of it may end up in a fashion show! At least that’s what happen last month in South Africa when pupils from Mondale High School took home top prize in the Generation Green Recycled Fashion Show. This is exactly the kind of thing Clearabee envisioned when they started their business in 2012.
Sixteen schools competed in the competition. They were asked to apply their super human powers of creativity and create superhero costumes out of rubbish. In addition, they were asked to create a poster about the social harm of students bullying other students. The winning team created a “Heroine of Harmony” outfit and were quite excited about their hard work paying off in a win. Of course, another moral theme was on display that day by all who passed by as well: that wonderful things can be created by reusing what’s cleared by rubbish removal.
Children all over the world are participating in similar fashion shows featuring recycled, or should be say “upcycled,” rubbish! At the Golden Valley Primary School in Nailsea, North Somerset, kids used newspapers and discarded plastic bags to make skirts, dresses, and hats. This was the culmination project of two terms learning about the importance of reducing waste and recycling and reusing the waste we put in rubbish removal piles.
The Miami Shores Community Center puts on a “Junk to Funk” fashion show for the kids who participate in their recycled material fashion camp. Besides newspaper, they used old discarded tablecloths, old wrapping paper, recycled tourist brochures, and even playbills from a musical show that had been discontinued. Like fashion models on all fashion runways, the kids were met with enthusiastic loud applause and camera flashes were going off every few seconds.
Eco fashion shows are not just for children either. At Florida International University, a graduate student named Amira Ajlouni was interested in doing a sustainability project for her master’s thesis. So, shedecided to put on a fashion show with outfits made from repurposed and recycled materials. It was her thought that the more entertaining she made the topic of sustainability, the more receptive people would be to her message — and she was right! Who would have thought that items you normally throw into your rubbish collection pile, and ask companies like Clearabee to remove, could be turned into such dazzling outfits ready for the catwalk.
The materials used to create the fashion masterpieces included eggshells, old Miami Panther coffee cups, broken CDs, Aquafina bottles, old wire, trash bags, wires, and scraps of 3D printing filament. The designer of these fashions not only received prestige for their fashions but also scholarships. This fashion show featuring one of a kind fashion pieces, dubbed eco couture, is now in its third year and looks like it will be a continuing success and take on a life of its own. Fashion makes recycling a contagious phenomenon!
Many of these eco fashion shows have been brought about by the arts community. This makes sense as artists tend to be people who create beautiful things from what most of us may think of as only scraps ready for the rubbish pile. Artists see the potential in these discarded items and a way to make them not only beautiful but also functional. For example, the Santa Fe Art Festival puts on the Trash Fashion & Costume Contest. People say that the fashion creations they showcase easily rival what’s seen on the Paris and Milan runways!
You may also be surprised to learn that the stuff you throw out for a rubbish removal from Clearabee really can end up being made into beautiful clothes and fashionable accessories. Patagonia began making polyester fleece from plastic soda bottles in 1993. Since then, they’ve started using waste from textile manufacturing as well as worn out garments to create the polyester fibers used in their most popular clothing lines.
High fashion also uses recycled materials from rubbish removal piles! One woman collected bread bag tags for ten years to create a beautiful wedding gown. Other dresses have been made from Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup wrappers, computer keyboards, aluminum cans, and party balloons. Another young woman created a beautiful prom dress from Starburst wrappers! Of course, this is a dress that her classmates will be talking about at their twentieth reunion, which is really one of the most important reasons to create fashion from recycled materials. It also exemplifies the vision that Clearabee has that we can recycle and upcycle our rubbish streams rather than sending them to the landfills.