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The Fashion of Politics

Kim Doose

How do social activists celebrate Halloween? They dress up as political statements and put on a fashion show that benefits a nonprofit organization.

The Stepstone Center held its first annual fund-raiser on Saturday, called “The Fashion of Politics,” at the Carbondale Community School.

More than 30 male and female models, designers and artists created wearable political declarations in the genres of environment, elections and local issues. Though the show was the brainchild of Amy Kimberly, more than 50 volunteers built a fashion runway complete with lights, live music and a background slide show.

The Stepstone Center was created in 1997 to organize individuals into a group interested in tackling some of the pressing social justice issues concerning the Latino culture, housing discrimination, teen violence and oil and gas drilling.

Last spring, the center helped launch Roaring Fork Biodiesel Coop, a plant in Carbondale that converts French fry grease into diesel fuel for cars and trucks.

The native pulse and percussion of drummers and dancers jump-started the evening, which produced more than a dozen segments that mixed feelings of betrayal, fear, hope and patriotism that exemplified the state of the world.

Although it was a bipartisan event, one model asked, “So, do you suppose the Republicans are doing this, too?”

Probably not, since one person walked down the runway trapped in an oil well. Another piece showed Miss America marrying corporate America, symbolized by a man whose clothes were emblazoned with media conglomerates and corporate logos. As he walked down the aisle with Miss America, he took her money and threw it away. Other costumes flaunted recycling by showing a line of skirts made of men’s ties and a line of dresses and suits made of hemp.

While much of the show focused on the desire to see a change in the future, some artists like Mika Stump visited the past and honored her African culture as she danced in front of images of her ancestors while Bunny Wailer’s “Rise and Shine” played.

“Rise up and shine. Do that and you can do anything,” said Stump.

The Stepstone Center believes that real change happens when individuals take personal responsibility for what is happening in the world and choose to do what they can to make it a better place.

The last segment featured Maya, an artist from Carbondale who was dressed as an Arab Sheik. He sang Louis Armstrong’s “It’s a Wonderful World,” while harrowing images of America’s worst moments, including war-torn Vietnam, flashed on the screen.

“We’re headed down that same road,” said Dean Moffatt.

Whatever road we find ourselves on after the election, everyone seemed to agree with Scott Chaplin.

“No matter who wins, we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Chaplin said.

From left, Amanda Tugwell, of Carbondale, is a graphic designer; Billy Bob, of Carbondale, is an electrician; and Lance Pfeiffer is a lawyer.

Wendy Moffatt, of Glenwood, dressed as Jackie O, is a ReLiv Distributor, and Dean Moffatt, of Glenwood, owns Sundesigns, an architectural firm.

From left, Thomas Radtke, of Glenwood, is a dancer and massage therapist; Willow Mannan, of Carbondale, is an artist; and Sandy Pickard, of Silt, works for Solar Energy International.

From let, Marion Lyons, of Redstone; Caroline Lewis, of Carbondale, is a designer; director Amy Kimberly, of Carbondale, organized the event and is development director at KDNK and Mountain Fair director; and Teal Hoffmann, of Carbondale, is a cosmetologist.

From left, Tessa Munson, of Carbondale, is a home health care provider; Glen Cell, of Rifle, manages Abbey Carpet; Kira Batterson, of Carbondale; and Lisa Herty, of Carbondale, works for Grana Bakery.

From left, Ananda Banc, of Carbondale; Adam Coyne, of Glenwood; Angie Rile, of Glenwood; J.C. Riggio, of Carbondale; and Maya, of Carbondale, an artist.

From left, Lori Adams, of Carbondale, is a neurofeedback therapist; Cody Lyon, of Carbondale, is a songwriter; and Ruther Powers, of Carbondale, teaches at Colorado Mountain College and works at a gallery.

From left, Mary-Lauren Wilkins, of Carbondale, is a consultant for Arbonne; Terril Scott, of Carbondale, works at the Carbondale Clay Center; and Felicia Trevor-Gallo, of Carbondale, specializes in Latino issues at the Stepstone Center.


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