On Thursday, underclassmen filed into Crossroads, and staff members of Unit 1 and Residential Sustainability Program struggled to capture their attention with the third annual Project Greenway Trashion Show. Project Greenway follows suit of a national trashion movement that began in lower East Manhattan in 2004. The movement has especially gained popularity on university campuses such as UC Berkeley for its populist nature, allowing anyone with a bin of recycled paper to join in on a vital discussion of sustainability, innovation and creativity.
This year, three contestants displayed their spring collections of up to three pieces to a panel of five judges. Brighter colors and floral motifs were evocative of the warm springtime that has put Berkeley’s flora in bloom.
The show’s first designer contestant, Joanna Guo, presented three evening dresses hand-crafted with The Daily Californian newspapers. The neutral, earthy base of each piece was adorned by a flourish of magazine cutout flowers in cool blue tones. With design details such as a high-low skirt and light pleats, Guo decorated her collection lightly with the right kind of trends that distinguished it as the most practical and wearable of the three presented that night. Belonging to student group Fashion and Student Trends, Guo demonstrated the most apparent, cultivated background in designing wearable couture.
While Guo’s first collection emphasized classic silhouettes and wearability, Project Greenway’s next two designers pushed their interpretations of green creativity into more colorful, vibrant realms. The second collection, by Rebecca Dizon, was a sartorial interpretation of two classic children’s stories, “The Wizard of Oz” and “Alice in Wonderland,” attempting to capture the whimsical, vibrant warmth of each story. Each dress loudly illustrated almost every image possibly attributed to its story, with the Alice in Wonderland dress sporting everything from an entire deck of cards to a caterpillar in strong flashes of fluorescents.
Concluding the night’s student designs, the final collection, by Sara Trail, attempted trashion with more of a hip-hop sensibility. Trail’s first piece tackled a floral motif with a more playful flamboyancy, an energy echoed by the model’s vivacious strut down the catwalk. The top half, covered in hot pink flower buds, moved down to a skirt of chaotic newspaper ruffles. The second piece, less of an exercise in inventive design than had been the norm, consisted of a male model whose tank top had been half replaced by a black garbage bag.
While each three of the contestants demonstrated an innovative energy in the spirit of trashion, this year’s organizers did not seem to display the enthusiastic leadership necessary to turn the night into a success. Project Greenway struggled to maintain its audience’s attention throughout a night riddled with issues — the runway event started an entire hour late, and judges spoke inaudibly into a fuzzed-out microphone. Most of the audience had emptied their seats before the winner could even be announced. Comparing the night to Project Greenway 2013, whose runway had a whopping 18 contestants, it seems this campus’s trashion show is losing its ability to spark the same passionate discussion on innovative sustainability. Project Greenway will have to reinvent itself if it hopes to have a fourth.
Jason Chen covers fashion. Contact him at [email protected].