Eco Trash Couture

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Crime Scene

Police tape is fashioned into “warning-wear”.

Tape from police crime scenes across the west, cover a dress made from torn table cloths. This cautionary costume took 50 hours to create and was completed in 2011.

Read a blog post about creating Crime Scene.


Scientists estimate that everyone alive today carries within her or his body at least 700 contaminants.

90 percent of the 85,000 synthetic chemicals registered today in the United States, have NOT been tested for their effects on human health. Many of these chemicals persist in the environment and accumulate in our bodies creating susceptibility to cancer as well as many other health problems.

Don’t let your body be a crime scene! Reduce your families exposure to toxins by eating organic food; eliminating pesticides, chemical cleaners and air fresheners from home and work; and “air out” new carpets, painted rooms, furnishings, and anything else with that “new smell” before indoor use. Better yet – buy safer products that don’t off-gas toxic fumes.

Sources: Coming Clean, Breast Cancer Fund, Healthy Child/Healthy World


5,000 people helped create this passionate dress!

Cereal boxes painted with recycled paint have been transformed into cascades of ruffles that contain over 5,000 eco-pledges—commitments of actions that people will take to help the environment. The ruffles cover a dress made from parachute scraps. This dramatic dress took 650 hours to create and was completed in 2011.


Which one of the following was NOT an eco-pledge sewn to this dress?

  1. I will shop locally.
  2. I will eat organic food.
  3. I will live in a tree and eat bananas.
  4. I will use my car less.
  5. I will reuse and recycle everything I can.

Answer:  3.

We don’t have to live like monkeys to live lighter on the earth! Every moment we make simple decisions that affect the planet. What can you do in your life to help the environment?

The Environmental Steward-ess

Fly away with this super-hero stewardess uniform made from airline discards.

The uniform, hat and purse are sewn from worn-out leather seat covers from Delta planes. The cape is made from replaced safety cards, Sky Magazines, old plane tickets, and pretzel wrappers all cut into strips and sewn onto worn pillow cases. The cape was then lined with a discarded Delta blanket. Both the cape and purse appear to fly in the wind thanks to armatures created from metal wire used for yard signs during the last presidential election. Recycled aluminum cans were used to create the vintage Delta symbol on the purse, hat and belt. The Purse was designed and made by Tierra Ideas. Completed in 2011.

Commissioned by Delta Air Lines.


Read more about the making of theEnvironmental Steward-ess.


Did you know that airlines reduce their environmental impact by:

  • Recycling aluminum, plastic and paper used on board the planes.
  • Installing a little winglet on the end of the airplane wing.
  • Offering “carbon off-sets” to customers for the miles they fly.
  • Researching use of alternative fuels that are less harmful to the environment.

Many airlines, including Delta Air Lines, take all the measures listed above, plus they are instituting more efficient flight planning; dispatch procedures; flight operations procedures; and air traffic control initiatives that can save 70 million gallons of fuel per year.


Youth Eco-Dress

Made by 2,000 children out of recycled office paper!

During Ms. Judd’s youth presentations about recycling and the environment, she asks the kids write their names and something that they would do to help the environment on a strip of recycled paper. These eco-pledges were turned into long paper link chains to cover the dress.The base of the dress is made of discarded sheets from the historic La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe, NM, dyed sage green. The garment has two petticoats made from these same sheets as well as old table cloths. A four layered hoopskirt supports the two petty coats, the dress and the chains made from the pledges. The wire in the hoopskirt came from the frames used for yard signs during the Obama campaign. Before the pledges were made into the chains, each one was adhered to the white table cloths (also used in the petticoats) to assure that the chains do not get crushed over time. Completed in 2011.


2,600 eco-pledges made by children across the United States cover this dress.

Here are samples of some of the pledges:

  • Lilia: I’ll get my clothes from second hand stores
  • Graham: I want to have timed 3 minute showers
  • Ethan: Unplug my charger when not using it
  • Emily: Turn off lizards heat lamp when it is sunny out
  • Abelino: Use fabric shopping bags
  • Manuel: Walk to school
  • Mayra: Composting
  • Laura: Yo voy a reciclar papel
  • Astrid: Use only what you need

    What can YOU do to live lighter on the earth?

Recycling Fiesta

This spicy little number is right on Target with business recycling!

The skirt, armbands and top were made from an employee’s old shirt and accented with plastic Target bags. Paper beads were created from cardboard product displays. The Carmen Miranda style headdress was made with plastic bags, old cardboard displays and a returned baseball game. This festive combo took 100 hours to create. Created in 2002.

Commissioned by Target®


Be an eco-leader on the job, learn how at:

Businesses of all sizes can help the environment by implementing green programs such as:

  • Considering manufacturing materials and the inefficiency of waste.
  • Adhering to green building standards when building new structures.
  • Purchasing supplies containing recycled and non-toxic materials.
  • Creating a recycling program for office paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and aluminum.
  • Promoting carpooling and public transportation among employees.

Source: Environmental Projection Agency

Obamanos Coat

Part of the Smithsonian Institution’s permanent collection!

Door hangers from the 2008 Obama campaign were cut into 2 inch strips and machine sewn to panels made from canvas scraps. The panels were hand stitched on the vintage man’s winter coat. This voter gear took 25 volunteers over 400 hours to complete. It was created in 2009.

Change Couture Collection at the Green Inaugural Ball

The Obamanos Coat is part of the Change Couture Collection which was showcased at numerous inaugural balls in Washington D.C. in 2009 for the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has added the Obamanos Coat to its permanent collection and is considering its inclusion in one of the initial exhibitions when the museum opens on the National Mall in 2015.

Paper Lace Dress

Recycled office paper takes the work out of wearing this party dress!

Paper selected from office recycling cans was hand-cut into an original lace design and glued onto the flared skirt, hat and vintage shoes. The skirt and hat were made from canvas scraps. The skirt is layered over a 1950s vintage “little black dress.” The entire ensemble was created in 120 hours. Created in 2003.


Recycle at work!

Recycling 1 ton of paper saves seventeen 35 foot tall mature trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 2 barrels of oil, 60 pounds of air pollution and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity — enough energy to power the average American home for 5 months.

Over 48% of office paper is recovered for recycling.


Rusty Nail Cocktail Dress

Salvaged nails deck out this black dress to inspire recycling of building materials.

The rust adds a little color to these nails that were hand-sewn or cut and glued to the matching dress, purse, vintage shoes and hat. The 1950s retro cocktail dress and hat were created from canvas remnants. The hat features a sharp chicken wire veil accented with nail “feathers”. This ensemble took 125 hours to complete. Created in 2001.


Build green at home and at work!

Sustainable building involves recycling, reusing materials and reducing future energy needs. The result are buildings that are more economical to operate and maintain, healthier and more energy efficient for occupants, and less burdensome on the environment.

Aluminum Drop Dress

Aluminum cans make this dress POP!

Hand-cut teardrops and circles from aluminum cans embellish both dress and shoes. The 1920s retro flapper dress was sewn from a used cloth shower curtain. This matching combo took 200 hours to create. Created in 2004.

Commissioned by Novelis


From cans to airplanes, aluminum is easy to recycle!

Following are some of the environmental benefits from recycling one ton of aluminum:

  • Saves 95 percent of the energy required.
  • Avoids the emission of about 10 tons of CO2 equivalents.
  • Reduces the use of natural resources and chemicals (caustic soda, aluminum fluoride and lime).
  • Eliminates the need for 5 tons of bauxite ore to be mined.
  • Eliminates the generation of nearly 2 tons of red mud byproduct.

Source: Novelis

Jellyfish Dress

Plastic bags were transformed in this aquatic apparel!

Green dry cleaner bags and blue plastic newspaper bags were ironed together to create the aquatic skirt. The bodice, skirt, tentacles and necklace were made from white grocery bags. The garment was partially created in public workshops in Lincoln City, on the Oregon Coast. Created in 2010.

Commissioned by Lincoln City.


Put plastic in the recycling bin, not the ocean!

Seabirds, sea turtles, fish, and marine mammals often ingest trash that they mistake for food. Sea turtles have been found to swallow plastic bags because the bags look like jellyfish, one of their favorite foods. Ingesting this debris can seriously harm marine life. Three of the top five types of marine litter are recyclable: plastic bottles, plastic bags, and cans.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency