Recycling became a fashion statement over the weekend at Unexpected Art Gallery in downtown Phoenix during the annual Grand Avenue Festival on Saturday.
A group of designers showcased sculptured dresses, which were constructed from recycled materials, on their models for the Untrashed Recycled Fashion Show.
This year’s festival had a nautical theme that shone through in the outfits designers made.
The fashion show was filled with under-the-sea creature costumes from a jellyfish to mermaids to even a sea princess.
Participants started by premiering their designs at Unexpected Art Gallery on Seventh Avenue and Van Buren Street, then paraded over to ThirdSpace where a crowd waited to hear the results for this year’s winning ensembles and hats.
Participants began arriving at 1 p.m. for the 2:30 show.
In total 11 models of all ages walked across stage in their recycled couture.
The judging was based on creativity, materials used, construction, variety of materials used and the model’s performance on stage.
Many of the audience members were impressed by the designs the creators came up with.
“It was fabulous,” Lynne Fondrisi, a first-time admirer of the fashion show, said. “I have never seen such fashion and all the kids were very cute.”
Once the first round was over, all contestants and creators walked down to ThirdSpace off the corner of 11th Avenue and the Phoenix-Wickenburg Highway for the second round of judging.
Around 40 people were waiting at ThirdSpace where other activities and live music were also taking place.
The models got to strut their stuff one last time for the crowd and judges before the final results were announced.
For the competition there were first, second and third place winners for both the outfit and hat categories.
First place won $100, second place won $50 and third place won $25.
Every prizewinner also received vintage crafting supplies to use for future projects.
After several minutes of deliberations, the first-place outfit went to a young girl wearing a spoon-and-fork mermaid dress.
First place in the hat portion was awarded to a young boy dressed as a blue cup jellyfish.
“It was amazing to see all the children and the creativity they had,” said fashion show director Felicia Mendoza. “We usually have between 10 and 15 people participate each year.”
Second place for the hat portion was awarded to dress creator Mary Rosales and outfit model Risa Rosales, who said, “We like changing things into other things and winning a prize is a really big confidence booster for us. Even if you don’t win just walking around, waving, with everyone clapping is always awesome.”
When asked how she got the inspiration for the wedding dress design, Mary Rosales said, “I did a wedding for a friend and at the end when we were cleaning up I thought that this is all gently used stuff. I packed it up, took it home, and thought that I could do something with it, so I made a dress.”
Along with the Untrashed Recycled Fashion Show the festival had many other events.
At 6 p.m. along Grand Avenue a parade took place that ended at the Unexpected Art Gallery.
Everyone who participated in the fashion show was automatically entered to walk in the parade later in the night if they want to participate.