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NYU Shanghai 2019 Trash Fashion Show


On November 22, 2019, NYU Shanghai's Green Shanghai club hosted its annual Trash Fashion Show.

The show serves as an initiative for sustainable practices and raises awareness about the harmful impacts of fast fashion on our environment. To convey this message, student designers created fashion pieces out of recycled trash to breathe life back into items society throws away.

I joined the show as a designer eager to creatively promote sustainability in fashion.

I teamed up with Nuo Chen, who modeled and assisted in creating the garments. Inspired by modern silhouettes and futuristic colors, I designed an asymmetric top and wide leg pants made of takeout insulator, bubble wrap, and shipment packaging.

tfs sketch.jpg


My design revolved around the flexible and fabric-like quality of bubble wrap. Not only would it provide an interesting 3D texture and emulate the current clear clothing trend, but it would also flow and drape like typical cloth. To set the design apart from others, I decided to challenge myself by using the material to make pants for the first time. Opaque envelope packaging with the same bubble wrap texture would be used on the top of the pants to reserve modesty. 

For the top, I decided to use a metallic silver insulator material that would complement the clear pants, together creating a futuristic color palette. To add more editorial structure, a stiff piece of bubble wrap was used as a cape over one shoulder. Geometric straps accentuated the asymmetry and secured the cape to the top. 

The resulting design had a cohesive futuristic color palette with nicely contrasting textures. 


I began with taking Nuo's measurements and creating mockups made of old laundry garment covers. Since this was my first time making pants, I made sure to make a larger size to leave room for error. 


To create the top, I cut and sewed darts into the insulator material. One side was sewn to connect the front and back while the other side was left open to allow Nuo to get in and out during fittings. The asymmetrical straps were cut from the lining of the garment covers and hand sewn into the insulator. The cape was created by gathering one end of the bubble wrap material and securing the folds by ironing them down. It was then attached to the straps with safety pins. 

To create the pants, shorts were sewn out of the opaque envelope packaging first. Then, the clear bubble wrap material was made into the pant legs by ironing the seams to seal the sides together. The shorts and pant legs were then ironed together to connect the two parts, making the completed wide leg pants.


Final Product

On the day of the show, Nuo was fitted into all the pieces and walked down the Trash Fashion Show runway in front of audiences from NYU Shanghai, ECNU, and Donghua University. Seeing our sketches become wearable garments made of trash on a runway was an extremely exciting experience. I am very grateful for the opportunity to share my creative vision and contribute to the movement for sustainability!

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