ESCONDIDO — Beach balls. Shower curtains. Umbrellas. When it comes to creating fashion, the materials available are endless — at least that’s what you’ll see at the Recycled Materials Runway Event, a program created by the nonprofit Escondido Arts Partnership, that has hosted the event since 2008.
The program, which is set to take place in June this year, is currently accepting designs from artists and hopes to receive up to 20 participants. The show, which only features clothing designs made out of recycled materials, is the only known “Recycled Runway” event in the region.
“All garments and accessories are constructed, assembled and embellished using conventional and non-conventional elements including thrifted, reconditioned and trashed materials,” said Chrisanne Moats, the executive director of the Escondido Arts Partnership. “This exciting evening combines visual arts, including film, and installations which are inspired by the re-using of objects destined for landfills. The Recycled Materials Runway Event features artwork and fashion designs, with a focus on student and emerging fashion designers and artists.”
Moats said designers have created clothing out of every material imaginable, including Venetian blinds, maps and palm fronds.
“Some of my favorites were a sparkling black evening gown made with crocheted VHS tape and both a man’s suit and cocktail dress made of dental X-rays,” said Moats, an artist herself, who has led the organization since 2015. “Attendees are treated to a unique runway performance with an emphasis on what we can do with items that would be discarded. Designers create wearable art that dazzles us with their ability to create fashions with these unconventional materials.”
The event typically attracts designers from across California who hope to share their creative and environmentally friendly designs, Moats said.
One designer, Renée Richetts, who has participated in the program since 2008, said she immediately fell in love with the runway concept after learning about it.
“I was already into re-using recycled materials for my mixed-media sculptures — not just re-purposing but finding and using bits and pieces of things that seemed done-for,” Richetts said.
Richetts said her first creation for the Recycled Materials Runway Event was a woman’s outfit made out of newspaper bags and computer wrapping.
This year, she plans to channel the theme of Paris to create a memorable outfit.
“I was (in Paris) in September and kept all my shopping bags,” Richetts said. “They are so incredibly cool. I’ve cut the bags and swatches into retro styles from the 60s and am once again doing both men’s and women’s snappy duds. All these clothes are washable and sewn to last. Thankfully I’ve come a long way from that first wear-it-only-once ensemble.”
But the event is about more than just showcasing the unique artwork of those from throughout California.
“People love this show for its uniqueness and sense of wonder,” Moats said. “As well as being fun and festive, the fashion show brings attention to all those things that we would throw away. It sheds light on how we might reuse or even curb our use of material goods.”
Any artist who is interested in participating in the Recycled Materials Runway Event can submit photos before May 16 to email@example.com. Artists can submit up to three different garments that were made in the past two years and is made up of 75 percent of non-toxic recycled and repurposed materials. Chosen artists will be announced on May 19.
Organizers of the show are also accepting model applications.
The event will take place on Saturday, June 6 at the Escondido Arts Partnership Municipal Gallery at 262 East Grand Ave. in Escondido.
For more information, go to escondidoarts.org/.
Hoa Quach has 15 years of experience in journalism, garnering multiple awards ranging from investigative reporting to feature writing. She’s been named a “Woman Who Means Business” by the San Diego Business Journal, featured in BuzzFeed during International Women’s Day and recognized by the California Legislature for her work. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.