Recycled Fashions Return to Festival Runway

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By Loreen Berlin, Special to the Independent

It’s a fashion show that’s simply stunning, with untold surprises from beginning to end.

Four local artists, exhibiting their own art specialties in the Festival of Arts, took time to showcase handmade designer outfits Sunday, Aug. 18, at the 11th annual Festival Runway Fashion Show. Their designs consisted of 80 percent recycled, reused and reclaimed materials blended into new “Time Machine”-themed apparel.

Acrylic painter Brad Elsberry garnered two coveted 2019 Festival Runway awards, including the “Most Creative Concept” and the “People’s Choice Award.” Pictured from left: Radar Online Entertainment Alexis Tereszcuk; Clothing and Costume Designer Alex Jaeger; Models Eli James Wanket and Hummingbird Meadows; Elsberry; Pageant Director Diane Challis-Davy; and film production designer Nelson Coates. Photo by Loreen Berlin

A panel of four judges chose the top looks in four categories, and nearly 2,000 Festival visitors had the opportunity to cast their votes for “People’s Choice Award.”

Acrylic painter Brad Elsberry took home the award for “Most Creative Concept” as well as the “People’s Choice Award.” His models were Eli James Wanket (left) and Hummingbird Meadows. Photo by Loreen Berlin

Acrylic painter Brad Elsberry took the award for “Most Creative Concept” as well as the “People’s Choice Award.” His models were Eli James Wanket and Hummingbird Meadows.

Meadows first showcased a wrap-around top, looking akin to a rocket top, with a pencil-type skirt set. After one runway walk, the top transformed into a lavish wedding gown. Wanket, in his printer ensemble and top hat, proposed to Meadows with a larger-than-life diamond hooked to the end of the runway, which released a multi-colored 6-foot-wide streamer that Wanket pulled up over the runway as the pair returned to the stage area.

Inspired by the Stonewall Riot and LGBTQ culture, Elsberry’s runway looks were created from materials collected from the dumpster of a nearby printing business, including paper scraps, color registry cut-offs, posters, display cards, vinyl leftovers, billboard pieces, and packing supplies.

Oil paint artist Elizabeth McGhee models her H.G. wells-inspired dress, which won “Most Exciting Ensemble Inspired by The Time Machine” at Sunday’s Festival Runway Fashion Show. Photo courtesy of Festival of Arts

Taking the award for the “Most Exciting Ensemble Inspired by The Time Machine” was oil painter Elizabeth McGhee, who also modeled her design—an H.G. Wells-inspired floor-length timepiece dress made entirely of magazine clippings of clocks and watches, held together with staples, tape and thread.

Mixed media artist Rachelle Weir’s won in the category of “Most Innovative Use of Materials,” modeled by Logan Campus, at the 2019 Festival Runway Show. Photo by Loreen Berlin

The “Most Innovative Use of Materials” award was presented to mixed media artist Rachelle Weir and her model Logan Campus, which was also inspired by the Pageant’s theme and H.G. Well’s sci-fi novel, infusing steampunk couture with time travel. The garment was made of recycled Amazon packaging, a laundry soap jug, plastic lettuce packaging, straws, soda bottles, Starbucks coffee stirs and cardboard. Silk ties lined the interior of the large umbrella Campus carried. Other cleverly placed items included clock parts, a lampshade frame and a crystal candlestick.

Mixed media artist Mariana Nelson’s dress, modeled by Natasha Nelson, won “Most Glamorous ‘Red Carpet’ Worthy Creation” at the 2019 Festival Runway Show. Photo by Loreen Berlin

Garnering the “Most Glamorous ‘Red Carpet’ Worthy Creation” was Mariana Nelson, who dumpster dived and made her outfit from award ribbons found at a local school play.Pink, red and blue ribbons were bleached, shredded, folded, heated and chopped up to create the dress, and plastic florist ribbon was used to top off the head piece. Her model was Natasha Nelson.

The 2019 Pageant Runway Fashion Show participants gather on the Pageant of the Masters stage for a photo. Photo by Loreen Berlin

Other participating artists included Mike Tauber and Kate Cohen.

Winners each took home $1,000 in cash for their creative efforts.

Judges included: Pageant of the Masters Director Diane Challis-Davy, Clothing and Costume Designer Alex Jaeger, and Radar Online Entertainment Editor Alexis Tereszcuk. The show was hosted by film production designer Nelson Coates.

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