Mount Baker Secondary School’s spectacular Trash Fashion Show extravaganza returns to the runway on June 6.
Students will show off their show-stopping outfits on a makeshift catwalk at Key City Theatre at 6 and 8 p.m. Each of the outfits are handcrafted by the student out of recycled and repurposed material.
The young designers have found inspiration for their pieces from many places — friends, relatives, celebrities, famous paintings and video games. They’ve used plenty of unique materials too — movie posters, newspapers, maps, party streamers, dryer sheets, CDs, puzzle pieces and even cereal.
The event, driven by community support, has been running for more than a decade and the atmosphere is always excitable and energetic.
“Our community is fabulous. It’s all so celebratory,” said art teacher and event organizer Cheryl Wilkinson.
“That’s why I love living in a small city. I think in a big city, high school art could get absorbed, but I feel like we’re an important piece here and we’re honoured for that.”
Music teacher Evan Bueckert and student Piper Standing are DJing the event, and photography teacher Bonnie Hayes is taking pictures. Students Chloe Dickeson and Edison Wilmot are the MCs.
The event is free although there will be an opportunity to donate to the school. Money will go towards funding art supplies and helping students prepare for post-secondary school.
At one time the outfits were exclusively made from recycled materials, but the event has expanded to include pre-made frabrics since upcycling and thrifting entered the mainstream.
”It’s different from when the students first started. Students have sewn their entire garments using scrap fabric from the thrift store,” said Wilkinson.
Students taking part in Trash Fashion are part of Generation Z, which refers to a cohort of people born between 1997 and 2012. Wilkinson said this generation has taken the show in a different direction than previously seen. They are big on textile arts like crocheting and knitting, and they like to paint their clothing. Social media has allowed them to expand their creative horizons.
“People would learn to knit or crochet from grandmothers in the past. Now they get ideas from TikTok and Pintrest and they just find out how to do things themselves,” she explained.
Students are also more comfortable exploring clothing outside the male-female gender dichotomy.
“What’s shifted, is non-gender-specific clothing and boys not being afraid to wear things that are more typically feminine. This generation is just allowed to have fun and be themselves.”