Despite what your mother says, sometimes it is okay to leave the house in a trashy outfit. And the City of Largo has the perfect occasion.
The city's second annual Trashy Fashion Show is Wednesday, a.k.a. Earth Day, at the Largo Cultural Center. The event invites amateur designers to create outfits using at least 75 percent recycled materials. It will follow the Largo Green Expo, which showcases eco-friendly vendors and educates the public on how to garden, make rain barrels and adopt other sustainable practices.
"The point of the Trashy Fashion Show is to instill alternative waste solutions so people start to think about different ways to use waste," said Marissa Segundo, Largo's recycling coordinator. "A lot of these look like things that people would wear, and you wouldn't even be able to tell that it was a recycled fashion."
More than 32 participants, from a 3-year-old to adults, will compete for cash and "trashy trophies" — one-of-a-kind awards made by Everest University students from crushed cans, plastic bottles and other recyclables. The judges are Largo Mayor Patricia Gerard, local fashion designer Bebe Ziegler and Erin Roberts, who won last year by crocheting plastic bags into a dress.
This year's entrants have an equally strong MacGyver streak. Florida Aquarium employees Tessie Offner, Courtney Philips and a team of aquarium volunteers crafted an outfit from as many recyclables as they could find. They wove palm fronds and old aquarium maps into a tube top, and they sewed the venue's biodegradable trash bags into a fringe skirt. The outfit, embellished with packing peanuts, is 50 percent compostable, 98 percent biodegradable and 100 percent fabulous. Philips will model it at the show.
"We're all very creative here, and once somebody gets an idea, we all figure out how to make it work," said Offner, 25, an educator at the aquarium. Proceeds from the fashion show will benefit the Largo Chamber of Commerce scholarship fund. After the event, most of the fashions will be recycled or composted, natch.