Staff photo/Heather Spaulding A participant from the 2016 Trashion Fashion show displays her costumes.

Trashion Fashion at the San Juan County Fair | Environment on the catwalk

In a community full of ecologically-minded individuals, the Trashion Fashion show is incredibly popular. The island audience crowds around the San Juan County Fair’s main stage to watch in awe at the outfits neighbors design out of trash.

“People are so enthusiastic, it makes me want to do my best,” said Francie Hansen, who has been spearheading the show at the fair for the last 12 years.

The idea began as a fun, educational tool highlighting the sheer mass of items clogging landfills. Hansen invited people to create outfits from trash and show them off at the fair. The community responded excitedly. Even little items like boat tickets add up, as one woman displayed when she created a “ferry” dress.

The show is a main event during the fair. Over time it has progressed and evolved. Hansen has watched 3-year-old participants who have became experienced Trashion Fashion cat-walkers by the time they were 7. She has also seen people older than 80 strut their stuff.

Some of her favorite outfits have been Lisa Moretti as a French poodle, and Eden Light with her mother Angela Light. Part of the latter costume included an invisible cloak, recollected Hansen.

Never one to do the exact same thing twice, however, Hansen has worked hard to keep things fresh. This year, the show begins an hour earlier, Aug. 19 at 5 p.m. There are also plenty of other surprises in store, Hansen hinted, “it won’t all be fashion this year.”

The young flash mob from last year will return, as well as some key players, like Brad Fincher as the usher.

“As long as the community continues to make it easy for me I will continue,” she said, mentioning all the people who have helped out behind the scenes with tasks like typing the applications for her to read on stage, as well as those out front with music and narration on stage. She also expressed gratitude for all the support she has received and those who have enjoyed the event over the years. Interestingly, Hansen has a list of all the participants since the original event.

For those interested in creating a costume, the first step is to submit forms by Monday, Aug. 14. There will also be a rehearsal that day, at 6 p.m. which Hansen strongly encourages contestants to attend, especially if they are new to the show.

This year’s show is not exactly a contest, however, Hansen said, “It’s a very friendly stage.” There are prizes, made by Hansen, herself, for everyone.

Hansen suggests participants start designing costumes by deciding what needs to be discarded and think about what would be fun. Don’t fuss or stress, and set a time limit. “Remember, it doesn’t need to last years, unless you want it too, just a few hours,” she said.

For those who have a bit of stage fright, but are still interested in designing, Hansen has at least three models on hand, ready and waiting for an outfit to strut down the runway.

“Get over yourself, and out of your own way and have some fun,” Hansen said. “You won’t be judged, just enjoyed and applauded.”

The fair is Aug. 16 through 19. For more information, visit www.sjcfair.org/events/2017/trashion-fashion-show, where there is also a printable application.

 

Staff photo/Heather Spaulding A participant from the 2016 Trashion Fashion show displays her costumes.

Staff photo/Heather Spaulding A participant from the 2016 Trashion Fashion show displays her costumes.

Staff photo/Heather Spaulding A participant from the 2016 Trashion Fashion show displays her costumes.

Staff photo/Heather Spaulding A participant from the 2016 Trashion Fashion show displays her costumes.

Staff photo/Heather Spaulding A participant from the 2016 Trashion Fashion show displays his costumes.