.Best Way to Get Fashionably Trashed

Sonoma Community Center’s Trashion Fashion Runway, Sonoma

A very special community effort is underway in the town of Sonoma to recycle and creatively reuse what it has always needed and lacked—namely glamor, charisma and oomph.

For this effort and more, I nominate Sonoma Community Center’s partnership with Recology, the trash fashion (“trashion”) runway, now in its 14th annual run.

In each and every year since its inception, tailored garbage gowns and suitings of verve and refinement have paraded an elevated runway at Sonoma, accompanied by trad house music, ear-scorching punnery by color commentators and rapturous applause. The program is divided into adults and juniors and requires two seatings to accommodate its popularity among the fancy-person patrons of Sonoma. Proceeds from this ticketed event go to support and discount the center’s hefty calendar of offerings. Volunteers are comped.

The runway that leads to that flash-bulb apotheosis begins the process as much as a year before as 30 to 50 single-entry designer models humbly reflect on their own wastefulness. It’s born of thoughtless habit. Do you toss a single-use Flamin’ Hot Doritos bag away each day? That’s a pile of 365 bags on a landfill field or it’s a sumptuous ’80s prom dress! Success!

Have a bag of expired coupons? Well, snip snip, it’s now a cocktail dress that gets free drinks. Have 40 neon nylon onion sacks? Well, that’s what you need for your coronation gown for your crowning as camp queen.

In the years succeeding its founding by artist Margaret Hatcher, Trashion has expanded, adding classes and labs to support its designers, a trash fashion Barbie moquette program and a free-to-all-closing-party, The Trash Bash. There you can see the gowns up close, live-modeled and on mannequins, meet the makers, bid on Barbies, tipple and enthuse about the future or how fashionable we will be on the post-apocalyptic wastes.

Held each April as Trashion Week, our own Sonoma Community Center hosts and nurtures one of our best efforts to turn April’s Earth Day into a global 365.

Learn more at sonomacommunitycenter.org/trashion-fashion. Or listen to my interview with Spencer De la Silva, the trashion icon. It is episode 19 on ‘Sonoma County: A Community Portrait’ on Apple, Google and Spotify podcasts.


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