The debris included old police tape, rope and worn-out electronic cables. There also were countless candy wrappers, garbage bags and old newspapers.
However, as the crowd that gathered under the bright lights soon realized, it wasn't a crime scene or the city dump. The Largo Cultural Center had been transformed into a fashionista's fantasy.
The Trashy Fashion Show 2009 — The Sequel took place Thursday in the Tonne Playhouse in conjunction with Earth Day.
More than 200 parents, friends and community members kept their eyes glued to the catwalk as models strutted the work of local designers, ranging from elementary school age to adult.
Pardon the pun, but there was one common thread. The creations were all made with at least 75 percent recycled material.
Environmentally concerned competitors were aiming for the top prize of $250. There was Marquez Linder, a 12th-grader at Gibbs High School. His tulip-shaped design, worn by fellow student Denisha Kinkel, was a snug, form-fitting ensemble made of stockings and hangers.
Tessie Offner and Courtney Philips, employees of the Florida Aquarium, used gallery maps and biodegradable packing peanuts for their creation — a miniskirt, shirt and hat.
And it was Sterling Adams who wore pants made of police tape. The 7-year-old was part of the Adams family design team of Largo.
In bigger cities like Los Angeles and New York, trashy fashion shows are not new, according to Marissa Segundo, Largo's recycling coordinator.
"In those places, they are called trashion shows,'' said Segundo, 29, who has held her position for two months. "But if I didn't know better, I'd have thought some of our designers and models were involved with big city high fashion already.
"More than anything, I was inspired by the fashions and the thought that the participants put into every design.''
The grand prize winner, dubbed the "Trashiest Designer,'' was Wanda Rosario, for her gown made of reused linens and paper.
Rosario, executive housekeeper at the Holiday Inn Harborview on Indian Rocks Beach, also created gowns for co-workers Leticia Pena and Ivonne Garcia. All the frocks were made from the recycled trash found at their workplace.
"It took about six months to make these. We used items we recycle at the hotel, like computer paper, magazines and old linens,'' said Rosario, 49.
New to the Earth Day-inspired program was the Green Expo, held in the adjoining Parkview Room. The expo included 20 local green businesses and was Segundo's idea..
"When I heard of the Trashy Fashion Show, I thought that we could get even more from the event while all these people passionate for the environment were all gathered," she said. "And it was a success.''
The event raised more than $2,000, with proceeds going to the Largo Mid-Pinellas Chamber of Commerce scholarship fund.
Piper Castillo is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.