Fanfare: Salvation Army's 16th annual Garbage Bag Gala
It's not every day you glance down at the Hefty and think, “Wow, that would really make a great dress.”
But maybe you should. At least, that's what twenty area designers did when they created twenty looks using trash bags and other recyclable materials for the Salvation Army's 16th annual Garbage Bag Gala.
“I wore it all day in the newsroom and no one even knew it was plastic bags,” said KDKA's Kristine Sorensen, who emceed the event wearing a dress that was constructed out of blue Giant Eagle bags.
Up to the eleventh hour, adjustments, another swipe of lipstick, and final touches were being made backstage while nerves remained remarkably calm.
“Dior does the same thing,” said Sofiya Mozley, a pin between her teeth.
With an open call put out on social media, organizers then gave each of the designers a few months worth of lead time to come up with their designs, although it wasn't uncommon for the final product to come to life within a week, two days, the last five minutes.
“This event has a certain flare to it that people really connect to,” said Fairmont GM Matthew Sterne, who wore a tuxedo jacket made entirely of a roll of Heinz Ketchup packets designed by Amy Ursiny. “This is some of the fun stuff that we get to do.”
Judges including Sterne, Pittsburgh Magazine editor Brian Hyslop and event chair Lisa Wagner Freeman cast their votes based on the use of materials, creativity and overall look of the piece. As they were tallied, designer Bradford Mumpower showed eight looks that drew audible admiration from the room.
Ashley Stark snagged top marks for her fit and flare crafted out of brown paper and plastic bottles while the entire fashion club of North Allegheny High School's snagged top honors for a paint chip skirt.
Student designers included Brianna Kraus and Samantha Wasilak, Riley Pottinger and Evelyn Siler, Jojo Huczko, Ashley Gabriella, Breanna James, Parastoo Aramesh and Leela Pinnamaraju and the North Allegheny Fashion Club.
Professionals showing were Essance Howze, Stacie Lawrence, CC Designs, Elaine Healy, Samantha Barnan, Alana Joffee, Keith Bloom, Lana Neumeyer, Shawna Solomon and Michael Anthony.