September 23, 2017
School & Youth
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  • Participants in the RMO Runway Fashion Show displayed their creations at Quiet Waters Park on May 18.
    Participants in the RMO Runway Fashion Show displayed their creations at Quiet Waters Park on May 18.
  • Ashley Superczynski modeled the Card dress that won first place in the RMO Runway competition.
    Ashley Superczynski modeled the Card dress that won first place in the RMO Runway competition.
  • Caroline Jackson (left) and Tori Wertin (right) worked together to design the Sea Glass dress Jackson modeled and received an honorable mention for their dress.
    Caroline Jackson (left) and Tori Wertin (right) worked together to design the Sea Glass dress Jackson modeled and received an honorable mention for their dress.
  • Sarah Knapp (left) designed the dress Ashley Superczynski (right) modeled at the RMO Runway Fashion Show.
    Sarah Knapp (left) designed the dress Ashley Superczynski (right) modeled at the RMO Runway Fashion Show.
  • Caroline Jackson modeled her and Tori Wertin’s sea glass creation.
    Caroline Jackson modeled her and Tori Wertin’s sea glass creation.

Students Make A Movement Out Of “Trashion”

Gracie Fairfax
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August 24, 2017

Some parents may consider teens’ clothing choices to be trashy – and if they attended a fashion show at Quiet Waters Park in May, they’d be right. Students from local high schools recently participated in the seventh Recycle More Often (RMO) Runway Contest put on by Anne Arundel County’s Recycling and Waste Division. These local teens were tasked with the challenge of creating prom dresses out of recycled materials and could work in groups of up to three, including their model.

The Recycling and Waste Division puts on a variety of school contests each year, including a poster contest for elementary school students and a recycled sculpture contest for middle school students. Inspired by what she’d seen on television’s “Project Runway” and her newfound knowledge of the fashion genre called “trashion,” the Recycling and Waste Division’s Kristin Lagana launched the RMO Runway Contest as a way to keep the high school contest fun and creative.

With the contest being open to both public and private schools in the county, Lagana has especially appreciated the involvement of the teachers – some of whom dedicated their entire spring semester in their fashion art classes to getting ready for the competition.

“The teachers are so supportive of this project, and we’re all equally more and more impressed every year that we have it, and the teachers are just such a big part of this,” Lagana said. “They come out; they really rally to get participants for it.”

Sixteen designs came in this year, submitted by 30 students from four local high schools.

On May 18, students showcased their recycled wares in a fashion show at Quiet Waters Park. A red carpet was rolled out, music was pumped throughout the area and a description of each dress provided by the designers was read aloud. Three judges evaluated the dresses based on the percentage of recyclables, creativity, execution, public appeal and how the designers adhered to the theme of prom.

This year’s judges were Eleni Dykstra, coordinator of visual arts for Anne Arundel County Public Schools; David Abrams, the director of broadcast and electronic media for the Office of the County Executive; and Allison Akers, Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation’s marketing and outreach associate.

This year’s second-place winners were Broadneck High School students Sarah Knapp and Ashley Superczynski, who created a dress out of playing cards.

“The size of that dress, the craftsmanship alone, I really think that that was something that impressed the judges,” Lagana said of the card dress. “They took a lot of their inspiration from the Victorian era, which you can tell from the way it was constructed. I thought that was just creative and they also added poker chips so it had this whole casino feel to it.”

A dress crafted of sea glass by Broadneck High School students Caroline Jackson and Tori Wertin won an honorable mention.

“It was really on trend. It had the two-piece going with the crop top and the skirt,” Lagana said of the sea-glass dress. “I think they were really inspired by the Chesapeake Bay, which of course is always a local favorite to hit on when you’re doing a competition … it’s constructed very well and the use of colors is really pretty. … It looks like it draws from watercolor inspiration.”

The dresses are now on display outside of Nordstrom at the Westfield Annapolis Mall, where patrons can be seen taking selfies with the mannequins wearing the students’ creations. When the dresses first went up, a passerby and model offered to buy the dress made of CDs from the third-place winners, Maura Griesser, McKaylah Pace and Gaby Vasquez from Indian Creek Upper School.

Lagana hopes the display will cause people to “think before they throw.”

“I think that we’re seeing a common trend right now with recycling called ‘wishful recycling,’ which means folks want to put more and more into their recycling bins, which is admirable, but when it’s things that our processor can’t accept, it ends up contaminating the load,” Lagana said.

Locals can take small steps to avoid contaminating recycling loads by placing plastic bags in designated bins in grocery stores instead of in their recycling bins at home.

Before an item makes its way into any sort of recycling bin or trash can, Lagana hopes people will think twice about other uses it could have. While she understands not everyone will choose to participate in the creation of “trashion,” with a little creativity, that plastic salad container could turn into a child’s favorite toy.


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