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December 1, 2009
Contact: Amanda Elder ‘10

Debunking Junk: Fashion with a Message

POULTNEY, VT—A December 5th presentation put together by three Green Mountain College students will have all the trappings of a fashion show—the audience will see a parade of models showing off original designs on the runway. But these aren’t ordinary clothes, and this isn’t your typical fashion show.

“Our goal was to make each garment from donated, found or recycled materials,” said Amanda Elder ‘10, a senior communications and environmental non-profit major from Rochester, Mich. One two-piece dress design is primarily composed of corn stalks and husks fringed with kale collected on the College’s Cerridwen Farm.

“Like all the pieces in the show, there is a message to it,” said designer Cody Currier ‘11, an environmental studies major from Freeville, N.Y. “The agriculture dress recognizes America’s obsession with corn-based products. The kale represents the relatively small amount of crops grown aside from corn.” Currier says the piece is meant as a commentary on current agricultural practices which allow modern farmers to efficiently feed more people, but at the price of deforestation, wetland destruction, erosion, and soil and water pollution.

Currier, Elder and James Robinson ’10 of Hendersonville, N.C. collaborated on “Debunking Junk” as part of their senior capstone experience. The course, called a Delicate Balance, is a requirement for all students at this environmentally oriented school of 750 undergraduates in Poultney, Vt. The trio is creating a total of 12 unique pieces of wearable art that provide commentary on environmental sustainability and social justice issues, including overpopulation and safe sex, the influence of corporate-controlled mass-media, water quality, agriculture/monocropping, and America’s disposable culture.

Robinson said one of the main joys of the project—and one of the big challenges—was to stay true to the goal of using only free or recycled materials. “To some extent the designs were driven by materials that were available. It has been difficult to spend no money on the project, but we have managed to come up with interesting solutions. It helped us to think more creatively,” he said.

The pieces will be showcased December 5 at 7 p.m. in the Withey Student Center. In addition to showing the actual garment, each model will present some performance aspect relating to the theme, from monologues and poems to interpretative dance. “The overall mission is to creatively promote social change using fashion and performance as the medium,” said Elder.

Debunking Junk is free and open to the public. In the spirit of the event, salvaged or donated food will be served.


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