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From waste to wearable fashion

By Chen Xue | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-12-20 07:42
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The 7th Trash Fashion Show, held at New York University Shanghai last month, showcased costumes crafted by students using disposable waste. [Photo provided to China Daily]

In a stunning display of creativity and environmental awareness, student designers turn discarded materials into fashion statements.

It's no ordinary dress. It's a creation fashioned from unconventional materials: the sweeping hemline is repurposed from a recycled tarp banner of a school lecture event; the upper section is made by the leftover fabric of a design student's project; decorative elements are made from food delivery bags, soda cans, and plastic bottles.

Yes, it's a dress made from what most people would call "trash".

This unique creation is just one of the 24 fashion items presented at this year's Trash Fashion Show, held last month at New York University Shanghai (NYU Shanghai). The creative minds behind this dress are Wang Kaidi, 18, and Yang Huiyi, 20, both first-year students at the university.

Yang explained that their inspiration came from a beach cleanup event in Shanghai's Chongming district.

"Seeing the shores covered in plastic bits made us realize how much the material consumption impacts the environment," she said.

According to Wang, the deep blue banner's folds symbolize waves of the vast ocean, while the glittery fabric of the upper body represents modern society. Together, these elements harmoniously convey the coexistence of nature and human society.

"We aimed to design a dress — though made from the trash found by the seaside — that highlights the beauty of the ocean," she said.

Initiated in 2017, the Trash Fashion Show has been an annual event and platform where students demonstrate their creative approaches to eco-friendliness.

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