Absolute Rubbish was inspired by the collision of innovation and sustainability. As a B Corporation, Meow Wolf is held accountable to sustainable practices and standards, and many of the employees’ costumes and uniforms are made sustainably.
It’s why their first in-house fashion show focuses on sustainable fashion. Instead of buying new, the Trashion show promotes upcycling and recycling found and discarded items.
At the Trashion Show, 20 designers will each show an avant-garde look. These looks will be created from items generally discarded – either upcycling secondhand textiles or recycling household items and other unconventional materials.
In preparation for their show, mannequins popped around Denver modeling one-of-a-kind upcycled and recycled looks that will not be shown at the show itself but to generate excitement.
Three mannequins were displayed at Stanley Marketplace in the week leading up to the show. Mannequins were designed by Brandi Shigley, founder of Fashion Denver, Meghan Anderson Doyle, founder of Doyle Costume Design, and Meow Wolf’s Wardrobe Coordinator, Kate Major.
McMichael by Brandi Shigley-McMichael
Brandi Shigley-McMichael’s design at Stanley Marketplace was inspired by the unhoused community in her neighborhood. The mannequin is wearing a dress made mostly from blue plastic tarp, decorated with torn newspaper. The dress is elevated with gold hardware adornments, including gold rope and a necklace fashioned from thick spiraled piping. Styled with ruched upcycled pink fabric and a plastic mesh bag, Shigley-McMichael’s design takes discarded trash and makes it feminine couture.
Shigley-McMichael is the founder of Fashion Denver who will show another unique design at Meow Wolf’s trashion show. Fashion Denver was established in 2004 in the effort to support Colorado designers through production of fashion markets, fashion shows, and business development.
“Regarding my process, I love to work from piles. Materials come alive when they’re in piles on the ground, colors jump out at me and my creation comes to life,” Shigley-McMichael said. “My design process is just like it was when I was a kid — create from a mess of color.”
MadBell by Meghan Anderson Doyle
Meghan Anderson Doyle‘s design is a vintage-style dress constructed from brown paper bag material. The silhouette of the dress is reminiscent of 1950s style, with pleating around the waist, short fitted sleeves, and a modest v-neckline. Cinched at the waist with a paper belt and tastefully crinkled, Doyle’s paper dress shows masterful styling and expert construction: the sophisticated silhouette is countered by Doyle’s unconventional and understated choice of material.
Doyle is a freelance costume designer who specializes in design for live theatre. Beyond participating in the Trashion Show, Doyle is currently in her 17 season as a Costume Design Associate with the Denver Center for Performing Arts.
“As a costume designer for live theatre, I love the collision of art and history and style that is fashion,” Doyle said.
Years ago, Doyle made a paper bag dress and loved the quirky take on vintage style juxtaposed with “the impermanence of fashion,” She said.
“I jumped at the opportunity to revisit that idea with a new design aesthetic and showcase it with exciting designers in an incredible space with Absolute Rubbish,” Doyle said. “Getting the chance to envision an over the top look and bring it to the runway using discarded, recycled, and upcycled materials was too great to pass up.”
Designed by Kate Major
Kate Major‘s design is a 90s grunge masterpiece made entirely from upcycled materials comprised of secondhand flannel shirts, the skirt contains original buttons, pockets, and sleeves from the original pieces. The top of the design features a vest made from pieced together leather, denim, and leopard print material.
Alone, the effect is jaw dropping, but Major elevated her design with painted embellishments and topped it off with something even more unconventional: kitchen utensils. The design features forks and spoons draped down the skirt and whisks drawing eyes to the shoulders, making for a look that is intriguingly busy and undeniably unique.
As the Wardrobe Coordinator for the organization, Major came to Meow Wolf after working in costume design for Cirque du Soleil and The Wrigley Brothers’ Circus. Besides being the brains behind the Trashion Show, Major made her runway debut at Denver Fashion Week’s fall ’22 show.
Tickets for Absolute Rubbish: A Trashion Show can be purchased here.
All photography by Lily Fox.