Recycled Fashion show a hit at Oregon State

Dumpster to Diamonds
2011-03-04T06:00:00Z Recycled Fashion show a hit at Oregon StateBY GAIL COLE, Gazette-Times Reporter Corvallis Gazette Times
March 04, 2011 6:00 am  • 

21st annual Recycled Fashion Show at Oregon State University is nation’s oldest

She’s not an apparel design major, but when Oregon State University freshman Emily Johnson learned about the upcoming Recycled Fashion Show, she knew she had to contribute something. For Thursday evening’s show in OSU’s Memorial Union Ballroom, Johnson created two dresses: one used Skittles wrappers, and one with red, purple and white ribbons she’d won when she was a child, showing sheep as a member of 4-H. She also modeled both of her garments.

The designing and modeling has Johnson considering a degree in apparel design.

“I’m thinking about teaching, but this was fun,” she said after the show.

Johnson was one of 74 designers who contributed to the total of 68 garments modeled at the show (some designers worked together on one piece). Hosted by the OSU Fashion Organization, it’s the largest fashion show of the year at OSU, in terms of sheer numbers of designers, participants and the audience.

Organizers sold 500 tickets before the show, and allowed 40 to stand and watch after the doors opened.

Debbie Christel, a graduate student in design and human environment — and an advisor to the fashion organization — said the event also is the oldest fashion show of clothing made from recycled materials in the nation.

The design show was open to all students, regardless of major, but there was on hard and fast rule: no designer could spend more than $5 on materials, making creativity the primary material on display.

“A lot of these designers have been collecting (materials) for over a year,” said Nicole Ognibene, a junior in apparel design and merchandising management and the show’s stage manager.

Ognibene did some collecting of her own to gather enough dryer sheets to make a white-toned dress for the show. She also made a second dress using T-shirts that her ex-boyfriend had given her.

“Best in Show” winner Jessie Curry, who is a senior in apparel design and merchandising management, constructed her winning garment only three days before the show’s Feb. 24 deadline, when she spotted criss-crossed cardboard packing material while working at Sibling Revelry.

“I was like, I have to do another garment!” Curry said after the show, explaining how she had tossed away her first design. She was shocked to win the show’s top honor.

Her creation looked straight off a Milan runway. The cardboard packing material, cut on the bias and layered over an ankle-length green sheath dress, looked as if it was made of open-weave suede. The weaver drew together at the neckline into a mock turtleneck, where it was embellished with peacock feathers. A wide belt of cardboard defined the waist.

“When you design, you’re the only one who looks at it, and you have no idea what anyone else thinks,” Curry said.

Contact reporter Gail Cole at 541-758-9510 or

Copyright 2016 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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