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Groups to host green show

Ellyn Michalak | Wednesday, December 3, 2008

In light of the University’s recent efforts to “Go Green,” Notre Dame will host its first ever environmentally friendly fashion show, “Trash to Class: A Green Fashion Event” to raise money for an environmental justice solutions organization.

The fashion show is hosted by Students for Environmental Action, GreenND, the Energy Center and the Office of Sustainability and all proceeds will go to Sustainable South Bronx. Sustainable South Bronx is an organization that pursues environmental justice through innovative projects and was founded in 2001 by Majora Carter. Carter served as a panelist Notre Dame’s 2008 Forum on Sustainable Energy where she discussed the impact of environmental issues on poorer areas of the United States.

“We were trying to find some kind of organization that was green. This year’s forum was on sustainable energy, and we thought that Majora Carter’s fund would be a good tie in because she was a panelist,” event coordinator Laura Moore-Shay, a junior at the University, said. “[The Sustainable South Bronx] also includes an aspect of social justice, which many Notre Dame students are interested in.”

Moore-Shay has been involved in several environmental activism groups during her two and a half years at Notre Dame. A member of GreeND, Students for Environmental Action and the Energy Center’s Advisory Board, Moore-Shay came up with the idea last spring as she was recycling some clothes of her own. She then recruited junior Lindsay Sena and senior Ann Kelley, the president of SEA, to assist her in planning the event.

“I’ve always loved fashion and art,” Moore-Shay said. “I came up with the idea for this new event last spring at an advisory board meeting while cutting up an old Recyclin’ Irish T-shirt. I thought that an environmentally friendly fashion show could be a new innovative event, so I pitched the proposal to GreeND and they liked it.”

The fashion event will feature both pieces purchased from resale stores and student-designed outfits made from recyclable material. Student volunteers will model 96 environmentally friendly outfits with the accompaniment of professional hair and makeup. Origins, a hair care company that features an organic line, and Salon Nouveau, a local Salon, will do the models’ hair and makeup, respectively. The secondhand pieces will comprise one part of the hour-long event.

“Since we were able to find a cute skirt or sweater and not head-to-toe cohesive outfits, the models will be wearing some of their own clothes, but it will be clear which article we are showcasing,” junior Sena said. “While people mainly associate recycling with bottles and cans, clothing can also be recycled.  So many pieces of clothing are produced each year, but they are also thrown away each year. So instead of always purchasing brand new clothes, we encourage people to try shopping at a second-hand store.”

Another part of the event will showcase “recycled couture” outfits. These clothing articles, made out of recyclable materials and meant to have a high fashion look, were made by several design students. The Film, Television, and Theater costume department loaned the show several costumes made out of eco-friendly material to exhibit during the event.

“These outfits are really creative. We have one dress made entirely of coffee filters and a skirt made out of magazine pages,” Sena said. “[The outfits] are meant to inspire the audience; people would never think to wear these materials, but maybe after the show, they’ll look at their recycled materials in a different light.”

Throughout the event, a slideshow that displays pictures and offers tips about energy, conservation and the environment will play on a projection screen. Immediately following the event, there will be a small reception and silent auction to bid on the clothing pieces shown on the runway to benefit the Sustainable Bronx Fund.

“I hope that students who like fashion but maybe aren’t interested in the environment, will appreciate the idea of recycling and conserving more,” Moore-Shay said. “We want to get people involved who aren’t normally interested. A lot of the environmental things have been academic, but this fashion show will offer a different and artsy look at being green.”

“Trash to Class: A Green Fashion Event” takes places tonight at 8 p.m. in the LaFortune Ballroom. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the LaFortune box office.