ST. JOHN — A unique design competition held for the first time last year in St. John, Trash to Trends, was held again this year, bigger and better and even more inspiring for hosts Brad and Courtney Emery and the competing student designers.
Trash to Trends allows students to use an array of recycled materials to make clothing fashions. The Emerys, residents of St. John and owners of BC Emery Photography, were inspired to hold the competition after seeing another photographer's artistic work featuring recycled materials. They decided this would be a good way to promote art in surrounding communities.
This year's Oct. 16 contest again was held at the Stafford County Annex in St. John, where students created their fashions, which were judged, and models hit the runway for a public viewing. Several area schools were invited to participate, with Little River, Kiowa County High School and Larned designers taking home the top prizes.
"The final result of the competition was a surprise considering the materials the students chose to use," Courtney Emery said. "Reading over the pre-entries, I had a hard time imagining anything quality coming out of some of them, but the final result was amazing."
First place went to Little River, whose students Harley Grow, Tessa Ediger, Lexi Janette and Ellie Janette created a steampunk-themed dress. They used newspapers, magazines, toilet paper rolls, ribbon spools, packing paper, shipping boxes, buttons, beads, bubble wrap, trash bags, paint brushes, a hula hoop and a curtain with curtain rings to create an ankle-length skirt.
The combination of toilet paper rolls and newspapers with a hula hoop to hold the skirt in place was accented by a belt made of thread spools. Accessories included jewelry, shoes, a parasol, top hat and purse. The top of the ensemble was made of trash bags with buttons and beads for accents. The necklace and earrings were made of old paint brushes, curtain rings and brushes. The purse was a shoebox decorated with newspaper, handcrafted flowers and paint brushes.
Caleb Fulton, of Kiowa County High School, took second place with a dress he constructed out of Barnes and Noble bags. Courtney Emery said Fulton admitted he had to learn how to sew to take part in the event and, like other students in the competition, endured finger burns from hot glue guns.
Fulton said inspiration for the dress came from "Adventure Time" and "The Wizard of Oz." His design featured a sleeveless top with a v-neck and a wide, short skirt just above the knees. Accent pieces included a hair bow and a necklace made with a rock found during cross country practice. The shoes were hand painted with red glitter.
During the runway presentation with Kaiden Brunkow modeling the dress, a basket and Toto were added to complete the look.
Third place was a boys suit designed by MaKayla Leiker, of Larned, under the instruction of teacher Kristen Pontius. The suit was made with duct tape and red Solo Cups attached with a hot glue gun. The shoes also were covered with red solo cups, and the tie was made from duct tape.
First-place winners received an $800 scholarship from Pratt Community College should they decide to attend there and major in art. Second- and third-place winners earned $500 scholarships from the school.
Mac Knight, of St. John, provided music and emceed the final fashion show. Tiger Town Pizza served participants lunch. The Hutchinson Community College Cosmetology Department volunteered time to do hair and makeup. Valarie Dellrocco, of Pratt Community College, was the judge and offered scholarships.
To view the Trash to Trends creations, visit BC Emery Photography on Facebook.