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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

arts community events

Bloomington Trashion Refashion prepares for its Spring Show


Imagine taking an old bag you got from the grocery store and wearing it as your outfit. Without information, it sounds disgusting. Why would I want to wear trash when I can buy a new outfit from Urban Outfitters? The Bloomington Trashion Refashion show makes you question your everyday outfits, and possibly change how much trash and old clothes you throw out.   

Bloomington Trashion Refashion, an annual event created by the Center for Sustainable Living, is a runway show where anyone can design outfits. The one catch is: they must be made of trash or previously-owned items of clothing.  

Jeanne Leimkuhler, a previous art framer for the Eskenazi Museum of Art at IU, started the event 15 years ago. She combined her love for sustainable living and fashion into one event. Bloomington Trashion Refashion shows people that they can reuse trash and old fashion pieces in a creative way.  

The project manager for the Bloomington Trashion Refashion show, Stephen Hale, discussed how anyone can participate regardless of age and they do not have to attend IU.  

“Our participants have ranged from babes in arms to at least people in their 80s, and again, participants include the designers and then the models as well, so the babe was more of a model than a designer,” Hale said.  

With the diverse age group of participants, the show has grown over the years. In 2023, the event had 75 pieces on the runway and was completely sold out with an estimated amount of 630 people. This year, the organizers are making the show smaller and a bit more competitive by cutting out more designs to reduce the run time.  

“We are looking for a transformation of materials, and then a complete ensemble,” Hale said.   

The deadline for design applications is Feb. 18. People looking to participate can send in their designs for the event through its website.  

With the show’s growing audience, Hale and the organizers are thrilled to see the new designs for this year. Hale discussed how designers, models and audience members keep coming back each year for more.   

“People keep coming up with new ideas. They keep inventing new things, trying new things, upping their game kind of thing,” Hale said.   

One designer, Sophia Wang, a junior at IU studying merchandising and psychology, works on the board of the organization. Wang shared her story with getting started as one of the designers in the show last year.  

“I never had any knowledge or prior experience in fashion design, but I just immediately had an idea. I sketched it out just for fun and submitted it thinking that I was never going to hear back from them,” Wang said.  

Before long, Wang had her chance to create the physical garment after designing it and got to see her work on the runway. She credits Hale and the other organizers for giving her a chance and helping her along the way.  

“It was really cool and fun to bring a piece to life,” Wang said. “I think the creativity and fun of being in a fashion show and supporting a fashion show really draws me back to be a part of it again this year.”  

Wang is excited to help other participants this year and see the new designs. Wang, Hale and the other organizers have been working to improve the event by brainstorming ideas on how to make this show better than ever.  

“We put in a lot of effort with planning, and we listen to our audience's feedback. We always try to make the experience better,” Wang said. “For example, we are working with the technology in the theatre to make the designs more visible from farther back.”  

As the show grows in popularity, the designs get more creative. Past designs have included suits made of Tyvek, a water-resistant high spun fiber, hats made from mini blinds, dresses made from chip bags and skirts made from thrifted ties.  

The Bloomington Trashion Refashion runway show is an event open to anyone and everyone. Whether you want to model, design or observe, the audience and organizers are welcoming, energetic and supportive. The organizers are accepting volunteers for the event, and people  can sign up on its website.  

This year’s Bloomington Trashion Refashions runway show is happening at 7 p.m. on April 7 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Tickets are on sale now. 

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