The Countdown to Trashion Fashion and the DCPS Student Art Exhibition Begins Now!


Mark your calendars because the new Brookland Middle School will be hosting student artwork from across the District on the evening of May 21, 2015 from 6-8:30 pm! In addition to visual art, dance, and live music–all student produced–the evening will also include the avant garde and environmentally friendly Trashion Fashion show.

Trashion, what? Trashion Fashion is a community driven effort to promote environmental awareness and support the local creative arts movement. I am beyond excited to announce that our Maury 5th graders will be part of that movement as they model their  unique designs alongside students from middle and high schools across DCPS! We would love to see familiar Maury faces in the crowd so consider planning a free and family-friendly date night at Washington, DC’s premier art event on may 21.


A bit more about Trashion Fashion: Did you know the average American creates 4 pounds of waste per day? Most products are designed for single use and are not intended with the future in mind. Many products from fast-food restaurants, clothing stores and grocery stores end up in the waste stream and contain toxic substances that contribute to issues of human health, solid waste and water quality. As creative thinkers, artists from around the world are coming up with ways to reuse and reimagine waste in an attempt to remedy this problem.


Our Role: Maury 5th graders have been given the challenge of working with waste that cannot be easily recycled.  Their job has been to collect waste from around school and our local community and repurpose it into functional designs that will be modeled on the runway in a live fashion show at the Annual DCPS Art Show on May 21, from 6:00-8:30 pm.


Our Process: With the help of many of our community and school supporters, we’ve managed to save heaps of garbage from entering the landfill while simultaneously helping us succeed at our design mission. Our biggest resource for used materials has come from our school recycling program during lunch. Students have adopted the responsibility of collecting, cleaning, and organizing hundreds of juice pouches and plastic fruit cups for our use every day.

After gathering materials, we began sketching designs inspired by our collection of waste products.


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With our sketches complete, and the help of many parent and community volunteers, especially our very own Elizabeth Nelson, we set out to define the structural form of our “trashy” garments. This was perhaps the most difficult stage we encountered. We soon learned that sewing trash is not the best method of construction and resorted to duct tape, zip ties, hot glue and staples to bring our creations to life.

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Some good old fashioned engineering and creative problem solving has gone into our functional and intriguing garments made from repurposed materials. Students are extremely proud of their work-in-progress and even more excited to participate in a live runway show. Many of our mid-process designs were displayed at the STEM Expo as an example of the creative ways to reuse and repurpose everyday waste objects.


An old bed sheet and candy wrappers make up this comfy frock


Aunt Lizzy’s dress is cleverly constructed using only Junior Achievement materials. Wait till you see the movement of this garment on the runway!


These draw string pants are worth the money! An old sheet and duct tape pair together to complete the bottom half of this team’s playful design.


Beats by Dre? Dr. Dre would be impressed by the ingenuity of these coffee to-go cup headphones and pleasing red and black cape design

0193de7f89bca53320db9bbe6cf205ac5d6f4fd10dThe ladies behind this design have a 10 ft train that trails their sleek dress

Perhaps what I have been most excited about as their teacher goes beyond the way this project has awakened students to think creatively about waste management. For me, the pleasure has come from watching the way they respond to authentic materials with childlike wonder. With heaps of miscellaneous materials at their fingertips, students have taken me back to a time from my own childhood where I would wander into the woods and build salamander forts in the creek from sticks and moss for hours. They are creating something out of nothing and their imaginations are on fire. For 45 minutes, the ipod, X-Box, or iphone isn’t more entertaining than bubble wrap and a paper towel roll. We all leave feeling satisfied that we’ve built something real with our hands, something both functional and intriguing.

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Mr. Rogers, Aunt Lizzy, the students and I can’t wait to show off our savvy trashion fashion on May 21. Help us strut our stuff by attending the show and admiring a year’s worth of  creativity at the opening reception! See you on the catwalk!

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Posted in Art, Specials Posts.