Sonoma’s Annual Recycled Fashion Show Walks a Virtual Runway

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“Vintage Edition,” designed by Denise Wilbanks and Pat Hackman, is one of many recycled dresses on display at the online Trashion Fashion Show this month. - PHOTO COURTESY SONOMA COMMUNITY CENTER
  • photo courtesy Sonoma Community Center
  • “Vintage Edition,” designed by Denise Wilbanks and Pat Hackman, is one of many recycled dresses on display at the online Trashion Fashion Show this month.

Trash and fashion are not usually the best bedfellows—unless you ask the artists, designers and ecologists who contribute to Sonoma Community Center’s fundraising Trashion Fashion Show.

For the last ten years, dozens of recycled garments and recycled art made of cast-off Barbie dolls–also decked out in trash-made dresses–wow the crowds each spring, though the ‘Trashionistas’ were hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic’s breakout this year and the event was postponed until this month, when the Trashion Fashion Show and the recycled Barbies art exhibit make their online debut as free virtual events open to the public.

The virtual offerings begin with the online exhibit, “Barbie: Reclaimed & Reinvented,” featuring 50 dolls that were saved from local thrift stores, recycling plants and landfills and then turned into new works of art by conservationist-minded artists who adorn the dolls in one-of-a-kind dresses made from recycled materials. “Barbie: Reclaimed & Reinvented” goes on display in a live streaming show on Saturday, Nov. 14, at 11am, and the exhibit will remain online for a week. Each Barbie will also be for sale in a silent auction to benefit the Sonoma Community Center.

“Having a virtual event is a great opportunity to reach an even wider audience than we normally do, especially when it comes to inviting guests,” Sonoma Community Center Creative Programs Manager Eric Jackson says in a statement. “For example I'm so excited that we can now have members of the Mattel Company finally make an appearance at our gallery show.”

'Barbie: Reclaimed & Reinvented' showcases recycled dolls in handmade dresses online Nov. 14-21. - PHOTO COURTESY SONOMA COMMUNITY CENTER
  • photo courtesy Sonoma Community Center
  • 'Barbie: Reclaimed & Reinvented' showcases recycled dolls in handmade dresses online Nov. 14-21.

On Saturday, Nov. 21, the tenth annual Trashion Fashion Show takes to the virtual runway during a live streaming broadcast beginning at 4pm. A panel of recycle artists and designers from around the country were handpicked to judge this year’s
Showcase of outrageous head-to-toe apparel designs handmade by local community members from recycled materials and found objects.

In addition to the live runway event, the Trashion Fashion Show broadcast will also include pre-recorded material shot on location in Sonoma.

“Since Trashion is no longer an indoor event this year, we decided to take these wonderful outfits and film them in various different locales throughout town,” Jackson says. “So now the show has also become a love-letter to Sonoma that I think everyone will enjoy.”

The live runway show will feature several live models strutting their stuff, combined with commentary and reactions provided by returning Master of Ceremonies, Gary Saperstein, and the esteemed panel of judges. Prizes will be awarded during the show in multiple categories and votes will be collected from viewers for the “People’s Choice Award.”

The Trashion Fashion Show is partners with and is sponsored by Republic of Thrift, Recology, Chateau Sonoma, Cornerstone Sonoma, Sweet Scoops, Bon Marche, The Church Mouse, and the City of Sonoma.

Online visitors and broadcast viewers are encouraged to pre-register for both events online at Sonoma Community Center’s webpage, where they can also find ways to donate to support the center's yearlong arts and educational programs. Supporters may donate online as well as by texting the word “TRASH” to 44321.

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