This is what happens when Charlotte’s Solid Waste Services hosts a fashion show

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This is an upcyled “trashed” item. Handbag designer LaToya Stevens found a fur coat at the Lake Norman Goodwill, then she transformed it into a purse. This bag has been sold already, but Stevens plans to have similar options as part of the #Repurposed show.

When Charlotte community affairs manager Brandi Williams decided to attack the city’s trash problem, she knew she had to do so with purpose.

Just asking residents to reduce waste and recycle didn’t seem to be getting a desired affect. In 2015 alone, Charlotte residents accumulated 1,600 pounds of garbage per person. Garbage goes into landfills. Landfills produce dangerous gasses, which cause pollution and ultimately disease.

Williams felt she needed something catchier. So turned to fashion, of all things.

Through the Healthy Communities initiative, the City of Charlotte’s Solid Waste Services is now pairing with the nonprofit group CrownKeepers to co-host a fashion show made from “trashed” clothing and interior decor.

“Upcycling is one waste reduction solution,” Williams said. “The fashion show gives us an opportunity to show people how they can take old clothes and upcycle them into something new that they can wear, share with friends or sell.”

CrownKeepers and Healthy Communities are now presenting #Repurposed: An Upcycled Fashion Show+Auction 5p.m. Feb. 11 at LaCa Projects. The partnership makes this show “innovative, the first of its kind,” said CrownKeepers founder Davita Galloway.

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More than 20 local and regional designers sorted through materials at Goodwill Industries and Value Village, looking for pieces to be repurposed for fashion and interior design displays. The message will focus on the importance of reusing, upcycling and composting.

This is an upcyled “trashed” item. Handbag designer LaToya Stevens found a fur coat at the Lake Norman Goodwill, then she transformed it into a purse. This bag has been sold already, but Stevens plans to have similar options as part of the #Repurposed show.
This is an upcyled “trashed” item. Handbag designer LaToya Stevens found a fur coat at the Lake Norman Goodwill, then she transformed it into a purse. This bag has been sold already, but Stevens plans to have similar options as part of the #Repurposed show.

Participants include a variety of creative individuals, from veteran designers to stylists and DIY fans. They will compete for prizes, and fashion and furniture will be for sale. All proceeds will benefit nonprofits Sustain Charlotte, Hip Hop Caucus and Pop Up Produce.

Handbag designer LaToya Stevens said participating in this experience has been like none other.

“To be able to showcase the beauty in disassembling a garment to re-create it, is fascinating,” Stevens said. “The fact that I get to help bring awareness is the reason I am participating.”

Stevens said patience was important as she opened her mind to new ideas for the “trashed” clothing.

“The garment that I take apart has had a life, already. It’s been designed, styled, and loved,” she said. “Now, the challenge is to give it a new life that’s worthy of a second time around.”

“My hope is that the garments that are set to ‘walk’ the runway will inspire those who had no idea how amazing this could be,” Stevens added.

Said Galloway, “Essentially, via this initiative, it is being made apparent that upcycled fashion has the ability to save lives and increase quality of life. If we take care of our environment, it will take care of us.”

Want to go?

#Repurposed: An Upcycled Fashion Show+Auction

When: 5 p.m. Feb. 11.

Where: LaCa Projects, 1429 Bryant St., Charlotte.

How much: $20. (Sponsorships and donations also available.)

Photo provided by LaToya Stevens

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