More than a fashion show | PostIndependent.com

More than a fashion show

Will Grandbois
will@postindependent.com
A scene from Green is the New Black 2014.
Beth White / Provided |

trunk sale

Shop locally and check out the original designs, jewelry and accessories from designers at the Green is the New Black Fashion Extravaganza. The designers will be on hand and you can arrange for custom-made items or buy designs seen on the runway. Even if you don’t get to see the show, walk away with an original and sustainably made design.

After the show Friday, March 11, and 3-6 p.m. and after the show Saturday, March 12

Carbondale Recreation Center, 567 Colorado Ave.

Info: 963-1680 and www.carbondalearts.com

The Green is the New Black fashion show is consistently one of the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities’ most popular events, but this is the first time both performances have sold out a week in advance.

“It’s a good problem to have,” observed operations manager Deborah Colley.

The event, which takes place at the Carbondale Recreation Center Friday and Saturday night, has an extensive waitlist.

CCAH is working to accommodate as many people as possible, but even with standing room in the back they’re not likely to get everyone in.

If the waitlist gets big enough, the organization may have to consider a third night next year. The show has already expanded once since it started eight years ago.

“Originally, it was just this cool little performance to get people interested in sustainable fashion,” Colley said. “It’s really turned into an inclusive, collaborated, multifaceted community art experience.”

Indeed, it’s hard to explain exactly what the fashion show is to those who haven’t seen it. In addition to a dizzying array of standard and outlandish garb, it includes elaborate video and audio work and both dance and modeling elements.

Even for experienced dancer Chloe Burton, it’s something special.

“It feels more like a collaboration with a big community,” she said. “There are a ton of people involved — something like 70 models. That’s the biggest ‘cast’ I’ve been in. It feels less like a few people on stage performing and more interactive. … The fashion shows I’ve done are some of the craziest and most fun ‘back-stage’.

“There is a wide net of experience, but it seems like everyone is willing to put in the time and effort to accomplish what they need to,” she added. “I feel like I can trust them as fellow performers.”

The designers also represent a mix of professionals and talented dabblers.

Delia Bolster got connected with the community through CCAH shortly after arriving in the valley a year and a half ago.

She made a small submission to last year’s show, but didn’t quite comprehend the scope of the event until she saw it.

“I was blown away,” she said. “It’s an incredibly proficient, captivating production for a small community.”

A landscape designer by trade, she also spent some time in the fashion program while at Cornell.

“I was kind of disillusioned with the industry, but I’m still passionate about designing and creating apparel,” she said.

The sustainability element makes a big difference.

“It’s great to get things from the thrift store for next to nothing and kind of elevate them,” she said. “People are looking for things that are unique and handmade with care and love.”

This year, she’s back with a robust line of clothes made from old toys.

A coat made from Beanie Babies is an opportunity to thumb her nose at the fur industry, make a point about value, and find a way to resurrect something discarded all at the same time.

“My parents have started to get rid of my childhood things, and that’s a lot of material,” she said. “If I’m making a wearable piece of clothing, I’m putting it back into use.”

It fits well with this year’s theme of transformation.

“The audience is going to see the human life cycle. We go from birth to death,” Colley said. “It’s a really soulful show.”


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