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Los Angels Times, Culture Monster
Obama cocktail dress, from dumpster to fashion runway
By Suzanne Muchnic
May 27, 2009
Nancy Judd, a 1990 graduate of Pitzer College who heads a company called Recycle Runway, will return to her Claremont alma mater Saturday with a one-day exhibition of fancy garments made from trash and ingenuity.
Judd makes outlandish clothing from castoffs such as phone book pages, junk mail, plastic bottles, aluminum cans and cassettes. But the star of the show at Pitzer’s Nichols Gallery is likely to be the “Obama Cocktail Dress.” It’s a slinky, body-hugging number crafted from the president’s campaign posters. As the “fabric” winds around the body, from above the knee to below the armpits, white letters form a crisp graphic pattern on a black background and the name “Obama” pops up over and over.
The eye-popping dress and other couture fashions in the show are products of a company that aims to transform waste into a valuable resource. With a goal of changing “how the world thinks about the environment,” Judd says that “making garbage beautiful, glamorous and sexy” may entice people to redefine their concepts of rubbish.
The Obama dress got its start the day after the election, when Judd harvested armloads of plastic posters from dumpsters. She soon turned the refuse into a line of garments dubbed the Obama Campaign Collection, which debuted at the Green Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C.
The Claremont exhibition will coincide with a ceremony at Pitzer, where the artist will receive the college’s 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award. The gallery will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.