Students danced, strutted and modeled their handmade caution-tape dresses, newspaper skirts and trash bag vests down a pseudo-catwalk for a packed audience in the Dobbs University Center’s Winship Ballroom Friday evening.

The third annual Trashion Show brought 13 competing student organizations – such as Emory’s dance troupe TrickaNomeTry (TNT), Volunteer Emory and the Residence Hall Association – and one individual to design and create outfits made out of trash and recyclable materials for prizes worth up to $300.

Emory’s fashion club Emory Fashion Forward organized the event in collaboration with the Office of Multicultural Programs and Service’s (OMPS) Unity Month, a month-long effort to inform Emory of its diversity.

“The purpose of the Trashion Show is to encourage students to get creative through upcycling, to showcase the arts at Emory and to collect donations for a local nonprofit,” Emory Fashion Forward Coordinator and Unity Month Coordinator Jenny Fernandez, who is in her final year at the Rollins School of Public Health Master’s program, wrote in an email to the Wheel. “In addition, the Trashion Show aims to unite various student groups in a creative manner and bring together students from diverse backgrounds.”

Judges – Matt Garrett, assistant dean for Campus Life and director; Jessica Morrison, interim assistant director of OMPS and Lisa Kendall, associate director of the Office of Student Leadership and Service – selected the all-female step organization Ngambika as the group winner of the event and College sophomore Katherine Jensen as the individual winner.

They judged participants based on creativity, crowd reaction, enthusiasm and runway routine.

Jensen wore a long dress made out of black trash bags and silver Coca-Cola labels. Many of the outfits utilized newspapers, wrapping paper and caution tape.

Most groups performed a planned routine while others improvised a catwalk routine.

While the panel made its decisions, College freshman Nicholas Arehart sang and played guitar for the audience.

This year, the event implemented a new feature. The organizers accepted new and worn clothes for donation to a local nonprofit called re:loom that aims to end homelessness.

College senior and Coordinator of Emory Fashion Forward Rita Fan said the Trashion show is an opportunity to collaborate creatively in a friendly competition.

Additionally, College sophomore and Coordinator of Emory Fashion Forward Sabrina Hwang said she enjoyed the crowd’s enthusiasm and the performers’ energy.

“[The performers] put in so much effort, and I really appreciated everything that they did,” she wrote in an email to the Wheel. “I also enjoyed the crowd reaction … I just loved everyone getting together and having a positive, enthusiastic and supportive vibe throughout.”

College junior Izzy Holmes, who participated in the show with female dance crew Persuasion, said she initially thought the show would be silly but was pleased with the event.

“I think it’s something very different for Emory,” she said. “It’s nice for people to have an outlet to release their creativity.”

College freshman Susan Arevalo, who watched the show, said she was also impressed with the innovation of the performers.

“It’s a great chance for people to step away from their books,” she said. “Our creativity makes us more well-rounded, and it shows we can do things beyond the classroom.”

By Karishma Mehrotra 

Photo by Mark Spicer


Correction 11/19: Jenny Fernandez, Rita Fan and Sabrina Hwang are coordinators of Emory Fashion Forward, not co-presidents.