Trash, treasure or trend?

By Tracy Mazerolle '15

What do you get when you mix a flair for fashion with a drive for recycling and sustainability?

Last Sunday, students saw the result of this combination at Hamilton’s first-ever Trashion Show, sponsored by the Recycling Task Force.  The event followed a fashion show format, with models strutting their stuff in outfits crafted by Hamilton students and constructed of recyclable and compostable materials.

The competition was open to both individuals and campus organizations.  The show, which took place in the Fillius Events Barn, featured eight outfits in total, with five group entries from HEAG, Tumbling After, Gamma Xi, PBX and Asian Cultural Society.  In addition, students Emily Anderson ’13, McKenzie Foster ’14 and Jamie Leiva-Cabrera ’14 entered as individuals.

Five members of the campus community served as judges for the event.  Felipe Garcia ’14, Tara Huggins ’14 and Anthony Jackson ’15 comprised the panel’s student voice, while Dean of Students Nancy Thompson and Director of the Arboretum Terry Hawkridge represented the Administration and staff.  Contestants competed for first-, second- and third-place prizes, which comprised Visa gift cards valuing $150, $100 and $50, respectively.  All entrants also received Opus gift cards for their participation.

Highlights from the show included a cocktail dress fashioned from banana peels, designed and modeled by Foster, a short sleeved peplum dress designed by Jaime Leiva Cabrera ’14 modeled by Tiffany Andrade ’13 and a floor-length gown made by members of HEAG from bottles and caps, worn by Hannah Trautmann’15.

Once the judges deliberated and RTF members tallied the scorecards, emcees Andrade and Tenes Paul ’13 announced the winners of the Trashion Show.  Emily Anderson took home the first place crown for her dazzling eco-friendly dress, which was made of soda cup lids and hundreds of straws.  McKenzie Foster and Jamie Leiva-Cabrera won second and third place, respectively.

In discussing her winning design, Anderson said that she spent roughly two weeks constructing the dress, dedicating most of that time to the intricate drinking-straw skirt.  She enjoyed the creative aspect of the competition, noting, “I’ve taken a few sculpture classes at Hamilton and I not-so-secretly wish I was an art major, so this was a chance to create something fun!”

Annie Phillips ’13, who modeled Anderson’s outfit, had words of praise for all of the contestants’ creativity.  “Whether you’re making art with it or walking the runway in it, trash is definitely not the easiest medium to work with.  I’m so impressed with all the contestants’ hard work, and glad to see that Hamilton can get trashed in more ways than one!”

Members of the Recycling Task Force were equally pleased with how the Trashion Show turned out.  RTF member Savannah Alvarado ’15 was particularly impressed with how many campus organizations participated.

“All of the submissions really blew my expectations out of the water,” she said.  “It was really encouraging to see all of the different participants from so many different groups on campus. In addition, the outfit submissions from Gamma Xi and PBX got me thinking about other ways that the RTF could involve Greek life and other organizations in its future initiatives. I really am excited to do the Trashion Show again next year, and hopefully make it even bigger and better!”

Founded in the fall of 2004, the student-led Recycling Task Force consists of four students who seek to improve recycling and sustainability efforts on campus.  In addition, two advisors support and oversee the Task Force: Jennifer Piren, assistant director of custodial services, and Brian Hansen, director of environmental protection, safety and sustainability.

Since its creation, the RTF has undertaken a variety of sustainability projects on campus, including establishing Hamilton’s annual Cram & Scram sale, organizing a used book drive each semester to benefit the Prevent Child Abuse organization in New York, and bringing the nationwide RecycleMania competition to the Hill.

For more information about the RTF and its sustainability projects on campus, visit


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