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    Awake Magazine: Welcome to Eco-Couture

    Apr 3, '15 5:33 PM EST

    Eco-couture launched it’s successful Fashion Show for the 2nd year in a row at the FIU School of Architecture. The event, hosted by none other than alumna Amira Ajlouni, features a variety of fashion pieces ranging from dresses to suits, all made from 100% recyclable and reusable material.

    Some of them were even made from magazine paper – one of them using Awake Magazine scraps! The ingenuity and craftsmanship has gone a long way since last year, to say the least. Eco-Couture lends the idea of recycle and reuse an optimistic fortitude.

    The event is sponsored by NR Investments, the developer behind the 37-story residential project CANVAS that will rise in Miami’s Arts+Entertainment District. Judging the fashion pieces were:

    See behind-the-scenes photos and an interview of the 1st place winner and other contestants on our next issue, Volume 3 (available 5.19.2015).

    Let’s walk you through the runway and cover each contestant’s material composition, concept, and the winners.


    Designer: Alexa-Marie Monfort, Danyealah Green-Lemons, Naaly Pierre.

    Concept: This dress is Flamenco inspired, using a sea of magazines to create a dramatic effect. The magazines create a large trail moving one’s eyes from the type of the dress to the bottom.

    Materials: Plastic bags, used shower curtains and magazine paper

    Designer: Esperanza Muino, Tatiana Acosta

    Concept: Beautiful creations of nature appear in spring. Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s create!” We hope our artwork can persuade millions of people to join a global conversation about sustainability. Spring also lives in our plans and projects. We are reusing and recycling our everyday ideas that we put on paper.

    Materials: Plastic spoons, plastic cups, recycled paper from the printing lab (plans and copies), card-stock

    Designer: Anica Lompre, Anyeli Silva, Kevin Hutchinson

    Concept: My dress strongly brings forward the act of making unconventional material wearable and attractive to the ode of art. The manner in which the dress was designed and created was focused mainly on the curves of the body, sculpting to the female body utilizing magazines and plastic trash bags. The goal of the dress is to emphasize the body as art and redefining the idea of materials used.

    Materials: Magazines, trash-bags

    Designer: Shari Gayle

    Concept: What happens to all that “stuff” when we’re done with it? How can they be re-invented? The materials used for this garment are old calendars, used umbrella plastic bags from the school’s campus, a used clear plastic raincoat, scrap materials from studio, and a broken pair of sunglasses. All of these items are considered to be waste, but this garment shows that they can be re-used to create something that is modern, stylish, and chic.

    Materials: Plastic umbrella bags, calendar, studio scraps


    WINNER: 2nd Place

    Designer: Ana Reyes, Grecia Estrada

    Concept: Our design celebrates its material by treating each material unit as a module. This is done by allowing for each material unit and its limits to remain visible. Repetition of the modules is used in order to bring awareness to the outfit’s recycled nature in a polished and sophisticated manner.

    Materials: Bottle caps, dryer sheets, Awake Magazine paper

    Designer: Taina Mayard

    Concept: My first thought went to plastic bottles, due to the amount of them found in Landfills and the lengthy time it takes for them to degrade. They are some of the least recyclable elements out there. I can see why they are so unpopular within the recycling community. Manipulating them requires a lot of energy and force, rendering it much less sustainable than other options. The process, however, has inspired many low-impact design options that can be executed easily by any end-user. I’m happy to showcase it, to the best of my ability, with this project.

    Materials: Interwoven plastic water bottles, CD disks


    WINNER: 3rd Place

    Designer: Monica Cordera

    Concept: Timeless coffee, made calendars and used Nespresso coffee capsules. A calendar goes to waste and has no use after the year has gone by. Also, more than 50% of Nespresso coffee capsules go unrecycled each year, every part of the capsule was recycled for the making of this dress from the aluminame to make sequins to the left-over coffee grounds for fertilizer. No material went to waste when making this dress.

    Materials: 2015 Stendig Calendar, used Nespresso coffee capsules

    Designer: Alexandra Lopez, Adam Medal

    Concept: Our Eco-Couture dress is entirely made up of previously printed-out projects which were once pinned up for Finals or Midterms. The projects used were printed during my Pre-College program at Pratt (2012), final architecture projects at DASH (2013), and Designs 2 and 3 (2014). These projects were saved in the hope sthat it would be used as wrapping paper, but were salvaged for our dress as the primary “fabric”.

    Materials: Old printed plans

    Designer: Maria Gonzales, Aurora Alcaide

    Concept: The outfit represents nature. The way this is embodied is through the use of materials that have been derived from that very nature. The use of paper as the main material implies the use of tress. The backless top exposes layers of curiosity. The seamless skirt cascades with flow evoking the lightness and frailty of leaves. The wings reinforce the idea of the strong element found in nature: wood.

    Materials: Newspaper

    Designer: Nelly Salgueiro, Jacky Valdez

    Concept: This fashion show is all about using recycled materials to give life to something new, therefore as a group, we decided to represent rebirth. We were inspired by the phoenix. The phoenix is reborn from the ashes of its predecessor. The phoenix is strong and graceful, represented by our feather/armor-like top and flowing skirt.

    Materials: Bags of different materials, soda cans, recycled spray paint, recycled canvas bag

    Designer: Elizabeth Lee, Nicole Gonzalez

    Concept: Our “Street Style” outfit is based on unconventional industrial materials that have reached the end of their life expectancy or have become obsolete in today’s modern world. We were inspired by the contrast between masculinity and femininity in our two main materials – creating a structural armor-like effect that is softened by the flowing elements.

    Materials: Car tire, VCR tape, cassette tape

    Designer: Ashley Maine, Sayleen Arocha, Gary Cassagnol

    Concept: We acquired our main use of material, recycled inner tube, from the FIU Bike Shop. The design is aimed to show the potential and the sustainability of the material by manipulating it in several ways. Inspiration is derived from the bird feathers and how they overlay on top of each other.

    Materials: Bicycle tire inner tube and chain (provided by FIU Bike Shop), mesh fruit bag, Patio Screen

    Designer: Jennifer Luis

    Concept: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Evening gown created by using garbage bags and folding them together to create a captivating texture.

    Materials: Garbage bags, duct tape, electrical tape

    Designer: Giovanna Gallardo, Woby Lang

    Concept: African tribal culture and its vernacular approach to “green living” becomes the inspiration for our dress, as we explore colors and textures with a futuristic feel to raise the question of how the environmentally friendly lifestyle can continue to spread in this fast-changing world.

    Materials: Rubber hoses and plastic processed by a CNC machine, plastic bag, metallic mylar from the FIU BEA “Se7en” Gallery Exhibit


    WINNER: 1st Place

    Designer: Susana Alonso, Adrienne Canter

    Concept: This dress is composed of pop tabs, stretchy cord, and cable ties. Put together through two different weaving techniques, the top dramatically contrasts the bottom while still based off of the same structure of the pop tab.

    Materials: Pop tabs, cable ties

    Designer: Ebehi Ijewere, Alexis Ortega

    Concept: For this cutting-edge design, the designers incorporated pieces of their personalities: calm and collected at first sight but outgoing and vibrant when interacted with. They achieved this by combining a detailed crop top and high waist pants with a loud trail. Their choice of material describes their personalities: bright, elegant, and outstanding. They love being the center of attention when they want to be.

    Materials: Coke cans, silver Mylar paper.

    Designer: Santasia Hart

    Concept: An explosive combination of recycled materials, theatrical presentation, and 16th Century style is what this dress brings to the table! By utlizing expired coupon books and penny-saver ads that businesses throw out each week, I created a dramatic dress fit for a queen!

    Materials: Penny-saver ads, coupon papers, wire-duct tape

    Designer: India Ferguson

    Concept: Inspired by Miss America’s swimsuit category, and their ability to bring an elegant/chic vibe to a usually playful summer item. The dress is constructed using a series of slip-knots from strings that were obtained from the Beacon, FIU’s student newspaper. Usually hundreds of these strings are thrown away after paper deliveries and further degrade the environment. The jewelry is created using the ribs and stretchers of several broken umbrellas.

    Materials: Recycled tote bags, broken umbrella pieces, student newspapers

    Designer: Joan Bienaime, Yenisley Lopez

    Concept: This design aims to construct a composition in which masculinity and femininity are at odds but come to form in a cohesive piece that blends together to form an androgynous look.

    Materials: Aluminum can caps, glass bottle caps

    Designer: Anielka Arguello

    Concept: The design of the dress was inspired by the 1920’s, in which women wore flapper dresses. The whole dress was hand-sewn, which allows the body to move and dance freely. At the same time, this emphasizes the natural movement. By modifying the forks and layering them, it created a pattern that reflected the flapper dress.

    Materials: 415 forks, water bottle tops



    Designer: VA Collective: Kevin Arrieta, Nicolas Vasquez, Natalia Cardenas, Carolina Fiol

    Concept: Xyla, the name of our piece, was derived from “Xylem”, a component of plants that allows them to conduct water and mineral salts from the roots to all other parts, providing mechanical support for the plant. We decided to use plants as the principle material of our dress due to their very organic form and behavior. Using them at different stages of their decomposition, we were able to showcase different colors and textures.

    Materials: Plants/leaves, Monstera “Monstera deliciosa,” Crinum Lily “Crinum americanum,” Everglades Palm “Acoelorrhaphe”

    All in all, the event was beautiful. Complemented by a live band and saxophone player/architecture student Kevin Tenor after the runway, there was an easy transition into the night with Archi Prom. Until next year’s event, which will probably be even bigger, we are left to ponder the lessons learned from the weaving and sewing of each material in the Fashion Show: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Sustainability can be achieved even as a form of art, as successfully shown by the conceptual designs that stole the night.

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