REEDS MILLS, Ohio – Seventeen-year-old Coral Roach, in her drop-waist party dress, is shooting for something trendy, yet modest. Self-conscious, she looks around a room full of people at the Jefferson County JVS and wonders, Do I look trashy?
Surprisingly, she doesn’t look sleazy despite what she’s wearing: Trash.
Roach was among a handful of Jefferson County 4-H’ers who participated in the county’s first-ever Reuse, Reduce, Recycle Revue June 13, modeling outfits they made from odds and ends and interesting items from around the house.
The event’s purpose was to get the youngsters to create a wearable item from something they’d otherwise throw away, and to get young people interested in recycling everyday items.
Style show. And, boy, did they create some interesting duds.
In a short style show at the county 4-H contest night, the six girls and one boy who participated paraded a variety of items in front of judges.
Coral Roach’s dress was made from a Wet Seal store shopping bag, laced up the sides with strips of white plastic Wal-Mart bags.
Katie Hartzell’s bubble-skirted party dress was made of similar materials: A paper shopping bag for the bodice, complete with multicolored splatter paint to liven it up; an Aeropostale shopping bag for the skirt with a fluffy Wal-Mart bag petticoat; royal blue duct tape for the seams; and a rainbow of paper clips linked together for a belt, straps, and necklace.
Watching them model their works, it was clear these kids had creativity, and maybe too much time on their hands.
None of the young people admitted, though, their foray into fashion took them more than an hour or two from concept to final product.
Creative, for sure. Judges Diane Julio and Louise Holliday, both affiliated with the Jefferson County Recycling and Litter Prevention group, said they were amazed with the 4-H’ers’ creativity.
They awed at 8-1/2-year-old Krystal Fiala’s creation: A purse, wallet and belt fashioned from Kool-Aid pouches zig-zag stitched together.
They took a closer look at Brittiany Feher’s duct-tape coat, a vivid display of pink, purple and lime green duct tape. Who knew they made so many colors?
And, no ensemble was complete without matching shoes. For Feher, they came by recycling a pair of flip-flops her dog had ruined. For others, like Jamie McCourt, they were completely homemade – from leftover foam cushions and baler twine.
They were, McCourt said, the perfect accompaniment to her ‘casual clubbing outfit’ – a skirt made from a horse feed bag with braided baler twine drawstring waist, and a garbage bag made into a cowl-neck halter.
And, of course, the judges took notice of Bryan Ramsey’s use of a cereal box, duct tape, pop tabs and pantyhose to fashion a cowboy hat, belt and buckle.
The mere mention of his using pantyhose made the boy blush.
“It was fun, though,” he said.
Learning lessons. Besides being fun, the young people said their undertakings taught them important concepts, like problem-solving, patience, diligence and working as a team with other club members to design a project.
They even went as far as to help each other – the competition – get dressed the night of the judging.
“The whole program has a really good message. Most people throw their trash out the window, like after they go through the drive-through,” Katie Hartzell, 14, said.
“But if you save it, it helps the environment and saves money.”
See for yourself. The 4-H’ers are planning to show off their duds during the Jefferson County Fair, which runs Aug. 14-19 at Friendship Park near Smithfield.
(Reporter Andrea Zippay welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419 or by e-mail at email@example.com.)
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