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  • Writer's pictureJenna Granger

Turning Trash Into Fashion: The Ultimate Trashion Show on Earth Day

How do you get a crowd of people not just interested, but excited and inspired about garbage? Usually, garbage like dog food bags, cereal boxes, plastic bottles and yogurt lids don't get a second glance. But at a SWEP trashion show, the story is much different.

What is a trashion show? SWEP's version is a student-led show that is visually fun with unique and wild outfits made from items that end up in the trash set to music with students singing, dancing and showing off these powerful materials with MCs highlighting important messaging about what actually is recyclable, water usage, the environmental cost to clothing, wildfire, food waste, etc…

This Earth Day saw another successful Trashion show at Palisades Tahoe put on by SWEP and the North Tahoe High School and Truckee High Schools’ Envirolution Clubs, with guest performances from the elementary and middle school Sustainability Club students.  

The packed crowd cheered, smiled, shed a tear (or two!) out of inspiration, felt chills and gave off expressions of awe during the 45 minute performance. Students' messaging included Barbie noting how she is "over plastic"; a plea to pick up broken plastic sleds (instead of leaving them in our environment); a statement that it is time to stop using single-use items; an inspirational ballet to not use single-use cleaning wipes; information about how 1800 gallons of water go into making one pair of jeans to inspire thrifting and exchanging clothes; and a powerful dance about shifting from single-use water bottles to reusables.

With these and many more powerful messages, the crowd left feeling not only more informed, but also inspired, empowered and capable of making actual change in their daily habits. And that is the magic of a trashion show- a way to bring together people of all ages in a light and fun

manner that educates about intense, important issues. 

But trashion isn't just one day of fun; it's many days of hard work, planning themes and outfits, creating these outfits and messaging, practicing and doing special shows for local elementary students in Tahoe City, Kings Beach and Truckee. The high school students in the Envirolution club often get to school early for craftermornings, stay late, or meet on the weekends for crafternoons to work on the outfits, in addition to giving up their Monday lunches for meeting with the club.

Many of these students are dedicated to making a difference on the planet that we live on and are putting in the time and effort to make it happen. This also, of course, includes the leaders of these clubs and the trashion shows, Missy and Ashley, the Executive and Program Directors, respectively. These two powerhouses coordinate all the clubs, crafting events, and actual trashion shows at the elementary schools and Palisades; no easy feat!

Toward the trashion show finale, the fun and excitement in the crowd dies down, as students walk out one by one holding signs highlighting important messages they wish to share… this is the moment where the crowd experiences the importance, timeliness and weight of the information shared at this event, and how right now is the time to take the next step in our sustainable future.

Thanks to The Patchwork Collective, Truckee Tahoe Airport District, Town of Truckee, Truckee Donner Public Utility District, Placer County, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, Northstar California Resort in partnership with Vail Resort's EpicPromise, Clif Bar Family Foundation, and Palisades Tahoe for supporting SWEP Sustainability Club programming and our Trashion Shows.

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