Southwest Flair

Nancy Judd : The Art of Green Couture

By Cheryl Yale-Bruedigam
February 2010

Artist Nancy Judd transforms trash into elegant couture fashions and showcases the Recycle Runway Collection in airport exhibitions, class rooms and media outlets around the nation. Her unique work inspires environmental stewardship in millions of people internationally!

Recycle Runway strives to change the way the people live on the earth through innovative environmental educational programs and couture fashions made from trash. The Recycle Runway fashions are exhibited in high-traffic airports to grab travelers’ attention and inspire personal action. Community-based presentations and workshops launch young peoples’ imaginations while providing information on how to conserve resources. Recycle Runway partners with businesses, non-profits, governmental agencies, foundations and individuals who actively support environmental conservation.

Encouraging people to reflect upon their personal environmental impact and take action to reduce their carbon footprint is the heart of Nancy Judd’s mission for Recycle Runway. Ms. Judd strives to live her life and run her business on these principles. She believes that it is the culmination of our individual actions that created the environmental crisis we now face, and that the solution lies in our personal daily choices at home and work. She hopes to inspire people in a fun, creative and positive way to change the decisions we make around food, consumption, transportation, recycling and reuse.

The Recycle Runway Collection: Global corporations including Toyota, Coca-Cola, Target, Novelis Recycling and the Glass Packaging Institute, have sponsored Recycle Runway garments over the last 10 years. Each garment is a one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art that takes between 100 to 450 hours to create. Nancy Judd’s goal is to design all of her garments to last at least 100 years, thus inspiring generations of people to reduce their environmental impact.

The Airport Project: The intent of the Airport Project is to exhibit the Recycle Runway Collection in glass cases in airports around the world, encouraging millions of people to reflect upon sustainability issues in a creative, fun, and eye-catching venue. The Recycle Runway exhibit also showcases organizations that are helping to find solutions to the sustainability issues facing our planet. Following is the Recycle Runway Airport Exhibit schedule for 2010:

• Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Feb 2010-Aug 2010
• Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Exhibit, Nov 2010-Oct 2011

Youth Education: Working with youth is at the core of the Recycle Runway mission. Nancy Judd gives presentations and workshops to young people across the country using her couture recycled garments to capture the kids’ imaginations. She also invites the children to make a new garment with her! The Youth Eco-Dress will be created from environmental pledges, made by the children, on strips of recycled paper turned into paper-link-chains and attached to a Scarlett O’Hara style dress. It will be completed in time for the Atlanta Airport Exhibit and seen by over 13 million people!

Ms. Judd offers workshops and presentations to adult audiences as well as youth.

Background on Nancy Judd: In 1998, while working as the Recycling Coordinator for the City of Santa Fe, Ms. Judd helped to found an annual event called the Recycle Santa Fe Market. The weekend long recycled art market and exhibit begins with a trash fashion contest. Ms. Judd began making recycled garments to promote the contest and soon had an impressive collection of recycled outfits. The National Recycling Coalition invited her to put on a recycled fashion show at their annual conference in 2003 and soon she was booked all over the country.

In 2000 Ms. Judd left her job at the city, started a consulting business, and served as the Executive Director of the New Mexico Recycling Coalition through 2005.

During this time Nancy Judd traveled through the US giving over 30 recycled fashion shows and youth presentations.

In 2006 Ms Judd decided to turn all of her attention to her recycled fashion project fulltime. She renamed the business Recycle Runway and realized that exhibitions in airports would give her a larger audience for her message of environmental stewardship.

Ms. Judd grew up in Portland Oregon and received her BA from Pitzer College (Claremont, California) in Art and Sociology. She spent time at the Laguna Beach Art Institute and the University of Georgia’s art program in Cortona, Italy. A self-taught seamstress, Nancy Judd has been sewing, designing clothing and jewelry and making
art since she was a child.

She began her career in the recycling field immediately after she graduated in 1990 by developing a recycling program for Pitzer College. She completed a Solid Waste Certification Program at the University of Los Angeles, California while serving as recycling coordinator for the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. In 1995 she moved to
Santa Fe, New Mexico to work as waste reduction/recycling coordinator for the City of Santa Fe. In 2000 she became the executive director of the New Mexico Recycling Coalition and in 2006 formalized Recycle Runway into a full time business venture.

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Editor’s Note: Ms. Judd is likely one of the most talented people in today’s world.  I highly encourage you to visit her website, learn about her methods and explore the photos available showcasing her talent.  I know that you will be as impressed as I was for she is truly an artistic midwife with the ability to birth into being  that which is born only of the creative spirit.

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