Last night I saw Commissioner Sam Adams in rubber pants.
His outfit, including top hat at suit jacket with tails, were designed by Portland artist Julie Yonko and made from recycled bicycle inner tubes. Claims that his underwear was also made from rubber are currently unverifiable.
Also on parade at last night's Junk to Funk fashion show was an intricately designed gown made entirely from would-be discarded purple Crown Royal whiskey bags, a wedding dress made from recycled coffee cups, (the brown stains only gave it a more natural look,) and a bright, plastic gown made from a river raft found on the banks of the Willamette.
The evening was a unique blend of fashion, art, eco-consciousness, and trash, benefiting the nonprofit organization Orlo and their quarterly magazine The Bear Deluxe.Since 1992, Orlo has been an innovative voice in the ongoing dialogue about the environment through provocative outreach, education, and media productions.
Portland's first annual "trashion show" was initiated when organizers Lindsey Newkirk and Elizabeth Fowler placed an open call for wearable art. The submissions were required to be made from trash, found objects, or recycled materials.
"At first we were really worried because no one had submitted anything," commented Fowler. "You know how artists are. They can be bad with deadlines."
But eventually, the two received nearly 40 submissions from across the country, and Junk to Funk was born.
The judges, clad in handmade, 18th Century style wigs made from recycled materials, based their final decisions on the amount and creative usage of recycled material as well as craftsmanship.
First place went to native Portlander Nancy Judd. Her creation, "Faux Fir Jacket and Aluminum Drop Dress" consists of a 1920's style dress made from aluminum cans cut into tear drops; and a coat made from old cassette and VHS tapes sewn onto a thrifted jacket to look like fur. Move over, Schumacher's! The jacket took over 600 hours to make.
Lamentably, many of the garments on the runway last night were too fragile to be worn in real life. But like the runways of Milan and Paris, what you see is merely meant to inspire, to trickle down from concept to couture.
Leaving the show last night, visions of a trashtastic future danced in my eyes. "We should go home and sew something!" my friend Jackie declared. I envisioned outfits made from the strange colors and textures of found ephemera. Though I don't know how to sew, I'm hopeful that one day soon in Portland, I'll be able to buy clothes with style and sustainability from someone who does.