Every two years, Mennonites from all over the nation (and world!) congregate in one city for The Mennonite Convention. For an entire week, Mennonite youth groups, leaders and others fellowship together through worship services, sermons, seminars and large meals together.
As a Mennonite and a student at a Mennonite college, I’m closely connected to this bi-annual event. In the past eight years, I’ve gone to 3 Mennonite conventions. And for the past two conventions, I’ve had it on my bucket list to participate in Eastern Mennonite University’s challenge event: the Trash Fashion show. This year I’m finally able to cross it off my list!
EMU’s Trash Fashion event began 4 years ago at the Columbus, Ohio convention in 2009. That year, EMU encouraged convention-goers to create a fashionable outfit out of trash, a wonderful concept that speaks to recycling and creating less trash on this Earth.
This summer I’m interning for Menno Tea, so I figured, why not kill two birds with one stone? When I told Hans and Niles, the co-founders of Menno Tea about my idea, they immediately loved it. Two weeks later, I received 1,000 Menno Tea labels in the mail.
I played around with using a lot of different materials: magazine pages, gift wrap, tissue paper and more! But I eventually settled on using only the Menno Tea labels and newspaper as the inside layer. Oh, and a TON of duct tape.
Since I wasn’t able to physically be at Convention this year, I asked Maggie, one of my friends to model the dress for me. Four days before the fashion show, I fitted her, making sure the dress fit perfectly. Three days before the show, I shipped out the dress. For three days, I worried about the package (I put as many “fragile” stickers on there as I could find!) and the show, but it turns out I didn’t have to worry at all. The dress made it there safely and she looked amazing, not to mention that she absolutely killed it on the runway. The dress was introduced as Cold-Fashioned: The Menno Tea Dress. Our dress ended up winning Runner-up in Most Detailed!
I am so grateful to have participated in this competition and show, even if I couldn’t physically be there. Creating something completely from trash is fun, and it gets you thinking, what else can we make out of our trash?