|JUNK TO FUNK|
|Written by Taylor Stevenson - Monday, 23 November 2009|
On November 14, Portland´s fourth annual Junk to Funk Trashion contest took place. The fashion show, which featured 30 works of trash-based fashion hosted by the city’s eccentric mayor, Sam Adams, has become one of the best reasons to take Portland seriously in both fashion and sustainability. Judges from respected arts, fashion and recycling organizations like the Regional Arts and Culture Council, The Association of Oregon Recyclers and Portland Fashion week judged the event. The first place went to Jenn La Mastra’s Chastity Blinds, a remarkable work of couture architecture sculpted from discarded metal window blinds. The model was followed onstage by a remote-controlled dog made from the same materials. Designer and model Ruth Waddy took second place with her dramatic dress titled Plastic Pride, created from discarded bucket lids and plastic bags that had already been reused in an art installation along Portland’s waterfront a few months prior. Waddy presented the third incarnation of these discards on stage with grace, skilled dance moves and her characteristic infectious smile. Third place went to myself, for a colorful Carmen Miranda-style ensemble titled Net Consumption, made from plastic bailing twine and vegetable nets. One of the highlights for those of us participating in the event was that this year’s winners happened to be some of Junk to Funk’s most avid and involved followers.
In addition to the annual fashion show, Junk to Funk has had a lasting effect on Portland’s design and reuse culture. The competition appeals to people, mostly women, of various disciplines. La Mastra’s background in hair and costume design is apparent in her consistently dramatic and detailed works of fashion, and the environmental focus of the Junk to Funk has motivated her to learn to manipulate materials that would otherwise be discarded. Waddy has a background in fine art, but her skill with reuse has improved significantly over the years, enabling her to truly translate her imaginative drawings and textile work into wearable trash masterpieces. My own work began as mere ecologically-minded experimentation with discarded materials. But, after 4 years of attempting fashion for Junk to Funk, I now feel comfortable working in the design realm and have learned countless new reuse techniques simply by witnessing the creativity of other Junk to Funk entries.
Junk to Funk, organized by green events consultant Lindsey Newkirk, has become a favorite event for local designers, recyclers and fashionistas. Newkirk is an excellent networker, attracting the help of participating artists, friends and volunteers to work on everything from set design to the construction of host Sam Adams’ flashy recycled outfits. Not just an annual event, Junk to Funk models and designs grace the stages of other local events year-round, spreading new ideas throughout town while offering a little supplemental income to the designers who labor over their annual Junk to Funk submissions. Unsure what the future holds for Junk to Funk, Newkirk is looking for partners interested in turning the event into a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about recycling and reuse while giving folks the courage to strut their funky junk down the runway.
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