Lauralton girls create gowns from yesterday's trash

Lauralton Hall's Environmental Club wowed the crowd again this year with innovative outfits that turned trash into treasure at their annual Eco-Fashion Show.

Now in its ninth year, Trash the Runway is the club's most popular activity aimed at promoting sustainable living and good stewardship of the earth.

Models paraded the runway in dresses, gowns and skirts made out of candy wrappers, potato chip bags, cereal boxes, newspapers and even yogurt containers.

Returning this year was a collaboration with Village Vogue Boutique in Milford, incorporating vintage and some of the store's “recycled” clothing into the show.

“I love that Village Vogue agreed to come back a second year; I admire how Karen Quinn-Panzer, store owner, coordinates all of the outfits,” said Donna Dimassa, environmental club moderator.

The designers must take time from their jam-packed, end-of-the-year schedules to take three crucial steps for the show: First, they must think of a design, second, they must make that design a reality and third, they must use what many people unthinkingly toss into the trash to bring their idea to life.

Despite the challenge, year after year, the fashion show keeps getting bigger and more creative.

“In a fun-filled, high-energy manner, the designers and models send a strong message: 'What you are throwing away is not trash at all; just look what I did with your so-called trash; look at how really beautiful it is; look at the shape and form it can take,” said DiMassa. “The models and designers want us not only to reduce, reuse and recycle; they want us to reconfigure our thought processes so that we do not mindlessly toss stuff in the trash.”

The show was narrated by club officers who not only explained details of the outfits and materials used, but also presented each model's 'eco-fact', such as senior, and club vice president Aubrey Lowe's dress made out of an old beach umbrella that informed the audience that 150,000 tons of plastic garbage goes into the ocean each year, causing the death of many sea animals who mistake the garbage for food.

A trendy dress composed of paper bags designed by Jessica Vanam and modeled by Ashley Bocicaut carried the message that four trillion paper bags are used world wide every year.

Another dress that made everyone cheer was worn by club member Lianne Bisch who won Best Junior Outfit. The skirt was made out of several plastic bags that were gathered together to make ruffles.

“The fashion show is always a fun time and a great experience, especially being able to see everyone's creativity in the outfits and how they are made. It makes you realize how everyday objects can be transformed and how we can transform to do good things for the environment,” Lianne said.


Best Freshman Outfit: Lily DiDomenico, dress designed from store shopping bags.

Best Sophomore Outfit: Aigneis Frey (designer) Tori Stapleton (model), dress designed from recycled Lilly Pulitzer clothing.

Best Junior Outfit: Lianne Bisch, gown designed from plastic bags.

Best Senior Outfit: Brenna Oricoli, dress modeled after Jennifer Lawrence's Dior dress from the Oscars created from garbage bags and duct tape.

First Place Overall: Anaka Mastrianni (designer), Rachel Landock (model), dress made from old Christmas cards.

Most Interesting Material: Meghan Warren, dress constructed from yogurt cups and lids.

Most Avant Garde: Emma McCarthy, gown designed from an old tablecloth.

Most Wearable: Shannon Hargitt, dress made from two Lauralton choir dresses.

Best Runway Presence: Maddy Beem and Caroline Kane, outfits from “recycled” clothing from Goodwill.