April 16, 2018 – When we think of fashion, sustainability isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. Common Threads presented the Recycled Runway Show on April 10th which aimed to shift that notion. The plot is genius: young designers from grades 6 to 12 make and compete their original, unique garments from completely recycled materials. Held at the Boulder Theater, this event was sure to be a hit. I was astounded at the talent, drive, and individuality these young innovators held. Not to mention that proceeds from the night went towards Blue Sky Bridge – a prevention and intervention association in the fight against child abuse.  Here are my top 5 looks from the evening:

This first look was incredibly intricate and the designer must’ve been meticulous when crafting this. Bryn Leith-Matison, only in 6th grade, utilized a number of distinct materials to construct her outfit. By incorporating wine wraps, tennis balls, fruit roll-up strings, and mesh netting, this young lady really challenged herself to create something that was tough yet inspiring. Tennis balls, not only difficult to work with but bold in color selection, were the center piece of this look. She hand-sewed each individual ball to one another which ended up giving the top some dimension. The black mismatched pattern of the thread was a perfect touch to such a daring outfit. The mesh netting acted as straps to the top and really completed the tennis-chic look. By keeping the fruit roll-up skirt simple with just a dash of multi-green flowers, Bryn did an amazing job on this.

This next outfit was designed by miss Eve Westfall, also in 6th grade. I just adored every single detail of this outfit. I could even imagine myself wearing it out. The whole look almost resembled the trend taking over the fashion world: motocross anything. She used a plethora of extraordinary materials including Equine supplement bags, horse shoes, sponges, shoe strings, ribbons, and net produce bags. It can be inferred from her supply list that she is most likely involved with horses in her free time. The horse supplements, horse shoes, and ribbons she won from her horse past time are all indicators of that. I was a fan of the fact that not only was her outfit fun, daring, and stylish, she used fashion to represent a part of her to everyone watching. Once again we had a designer that chose to go with a fearless color palette. Her grid-like strapless top, thick waistband, and ribbon pant detail stood out to me. And sadly for me, she probably rocked it better than I ever could!

Arguably my favorite fit of the night, this little number sure had me emotionally attached. Designer Olivia Beresford, 9th grade, created the most breathtaking piece. Made out of shredded paper, chip bags, and gold foil from chocolate bars, she sure didn’t disappoint. As a base for her look she made a simple co-ord set. The bandeau top with a few layers of wrap around was accompanied by a pair of drawstring loose-fitted shorts. The hint of gold was elegant and gave off a hard-to-ignore sheen. The obvious star of the show was the coat. By using chip bags to carve out the structure and then gluing bit by bit of shredded paper over the base, she came up with this. Can we talk about this form, structure, and composition?! The wearability was mind-blowing and it didn’t budge as she strutted down the runway. Olivia was also sure not to miss any details. She added a gold choker and completed the jacket with gold cuffs. Overall this look was so magnificent. And Olivia – if you ever want your piece worn in New York, feel free to contact me!

Who doesn’t love an over-the-top dress? Designer Jaqi Fairbanks, 10th grade, brought her A game to RR. By using dryer sheets, bubble wrap, CDs, caution tape, pipe insulation, fencing, and electrical wire, this dress sure didn’t miss anything. The color palette was perfect – every color complemented the next one beautifully. Pops of silver and yellow, thanks to the caution tape and CDs, were balanced out by blank spaces of bubble wrap. The skirt made of circular shapes stood out to me as I have never seen anything like it. The shape of the dress was flattering and the model, Lilly Keh, glided seamlessly down the runway. This design was yet another thing I would wear so don’t hesitate to ask me, Jaqi!

These designers made it so hard to pick a favorite with all of their one-of-a-kind and creatively genius looks. This look designed by Keara Friel, 9th grade, was an all encompassing piece. Her two-piece dress had a fairly short list of materials: livestock feed bags and Ipsy bags. Her feather shape was so experimental and nailed the low-high skirt look. The use of very muted, neutral colors allowed for the pops of bright pink, courtesy of the Ipsy bags, to shine. The train was slinky and fell around the legs to perfection. Her simple top was cinched down the middle with a band of pink that added some shape. Of course the cutest detail, the feather arm bands, couldn’t be overlooked. The simplicity of materials allowed for the idea, vision, and design to do all the talking.

Denver fashion never ceases to amaze me but the fact that these are all young, aspiring designers is beyond inspiring. I was rethinking my entire existence after seeing all of the talent, capability, and passion that they possessed. I know each and every one of them will go on to do big things in life and I hope to see their names internationally one day! Thanks for having me, Recycled Runway!