Trash Fashion: The Menno Tea Dress

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.


One of the hundreds of labels I received in the mail to create my dress.

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.


The sketches I made before starting my dress.

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.


The final product! I used my mannequin, sized to Maggie’s measurements to create the dress.


A Menno Tea clutch, earrings and hair accessory.


The inside of the Menno Tea dress.

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!


Maggie, my beautiful model wore the dress the night of the Trash Fashion show. She looked amazing!


1045194_10151757513974274_289885380_nIMG_3015 Hans, one of the co-founders of Menno Tea and our model, Maggie after the show.

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?


More Zippers, please!


Tell me….who can turn down a pair of red zippers? Not this girl! That’s why when I saw them at Joann’s last week, I knew I had to do this DIY. The diagonal zipper creates a nice shape while giving you a variety of different looks to play with. I also love that the placement of the zippers is so out-of-the-box! Who would ever think to put zippers there??

My DIY process was not very difficult. I pinned down my zippers, making sure they lined up exactly the same on either side, sewed it on and then cut my blazer where the zipper is now sewed down.

I originally got this blazer from a friend who bought it at a Buffalo Exchange in Philly. I loved the classic, vintage look to this blazer. Now it has even more of an edge, which I find absolutely irresistible. Give me something a little weird and eye-catching, and I’m one happy girl!



Rachel A.S.

Round Two

Inspire Me, my first DIY and lifestyle blog

Inspire Me, my first DIY and lifestyle blog

Back in June 2009, I created my first blog, Inspire Me. For several years, this was the platform to display my DIY’s and later, my graphic design projects. Using my Blogspot blog opened me up to a whole new world: the Blogosphere! I discovered I absolutely love blogging and following others on their blogs. In August 2012, I was asked to blog for my Communication department’s website: Goshen Commons. My blog for Goshen Commons is titled Nifty & Thrifty, a lifestyle blog about thrifting and DIYing.

The more I immersed myself into this world, the more I craved to take my blog to the next level. Blogspot is a great site for amateur bloggers because the formatting is simplistic and easy to use; however, it didn’t give me the freedom I needed to provide a more aesthetically-pleasing and user-friendly website.

So, having heard that WordPress is a great blog foundation site, I decided to try it out and see how it goes. Creating HIPnotic Designs has become my process of building a better blog and personal brand. I can’t wait to see where my blog will go. So, take a look around and stay as long as you like!


Rachel A.S.