Trash in fashion at Western Washington University

BELLINGHAM — When grunge fashion hits the runway this weekend, the look will be less flannel shirts and ripped jeans and more plastic bags and old couch swatches.

Recycled looks will be all the rage at RE Store’s Trash Fashion Show at 8 p.m. Friday in Western Washington University’s Viking Union Multipurpose Room. This is the fifth year for the show, which features outfits made from goods that otherwise would have gone to a landfill.

“You can make something really beautiful out of a bunch of garbage,” said Western industrial design student Will Wheaton, who is one of many students participating in the show as a class project.

“One of the things that’s very relevant to what we’re doing these days is trying to use what’s already been made to make new things, as opposed to making more and putting out more consumer products. It was a good practice in sustainability because it forced us to look at what was already available and make it new,” he said.

For Wheaton’s outfit, he and his partner, Eli Hooper, started out with materials and decided on a form from there. A pack-rat friend’s garage became a goldmine, as did boxes of free junk found on the side of the road. From there, they created a Mayan warrior costume adorned with rubber, ironed plastic bags, discarded brass bits and lots of wire.

“It was fun to play with the materials and look at this garbage in a different light and try and see past what it already was,” Wheaton said. “It was really different from any of the other assignments we’ve had. This was really challenging, but I think we all benefited from it because it forced us to think outside the box.”

Looks in the show will range from Wheaton’s warrior to outfits made of old mini-blinds and garden hoses.

“People should expect to really have their minds blown,” said Jason Darling, education and marketing coordinator with the RE Store. “The designs this year are at a whole new level of sophistication.”

Information from: The Bellingham Herald, www.bellinghamherald.com

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