Trash Fashions – Recycled Style
by: Kirsten Hanafee | 10 August 2009
printed in: Edition 56 | section: Fashion
Photo courtesy of Caitlin M. Kelly
Buenos Aires has a knack for blending the old with the new, and so do the city’s people. Argentine designer Aidana Baldassarre takes the concept a step further by creating masterpieces out of the city’s discarded materials.
For seven years Baldassarre has been making wearable art out of recycled and reused materials to display at fashion shows and galleries, proving that no material should be thrown away.
Her creations range from vests made out of woven bike tyres to jewelry made from plastic bottles and film to milk carton purses. But when you see these pieces on the catwalk, trash will be the last way to describe them.
“My hope for Trash Fashions is that it becomes a movement and more people become involved, from Argentina to the US.”
Some may be put off by the idea of wearing trash as clothing, but Baldassarre manages to design pieces that rock the runway, such as her intricate dresses, or for those who prefer some a touch more wearable, perhaps one of the more subtle necklaces.
Baldassarre has been making her own clothes out of old fabrics since she was a girl, but her first attempt at using materials other than cloth was in 2002 when she made a dress out of rubber for a contest in Boston. During the making, she realised how much she loved the challenge of working with unusual materials and continued designing as a hobby.
After developing her own line of Trash Fashions, Baldassarre wanted to exhibit what she created. She reached out to all her contacts in Boston about putting on a fashion show and put an ad on Craigslist to rally together a group of fellow designers.
The city granted her and four others an old building, about to be torn down, and in the spirit of reusing and recycling, the group renovated the space, repairing the broken floors and making curtains out of magazines.
After persistent promotion, her first fashion show came to life. She opened the building to the public for three days, and held four fashion shows each day, one per designer. Over a thousand people attended and the event was a huge success.
Since then, Baldassarre has moved to Buenos Aires to focus more on her art. “In the US I had to focus more on my career and I had very little time to design. In Buenos Aires, my art has become my focus.”
However, she admits there is less of an interest in Trash Fashions in Argentina than in the US. “People here dress more conservatively and uniformly. They enjoy looking at what I make but rarely want to wear it.”
Since moving back to Buenos Aires, Baldassarre has put on numerous other fashion shows and open houses, and exhibits her designs in galleries in San Telmo such as Laguanaca Azul.
The fashion shows are not for profit, but to bring people together to enjoy a new aspect of art. All of the models are volunteers, with no training, and the price to attend only covers the costs of the actual event. She admits that she is doing what she loves and sharing her ideas for this concept with whoever is interested.
The most recent show she organised was on the terrace of her apartment, with videos of the production of the clothes projecting on the walls. Around one hundred people attended, witnessing what Baldassarre had been working on for the past seven years.
With the green movement gaining pace, Baldassarre hopes the concept of Trash Fashions will catch on. She has made contacts in California, including a woman from ‘Ethical Fashion’, with whom she will collaborate to hold fundraisers through exhibiting her designs.
Photo courtesy of Caitlin M. Kelly
For more information on Aidana Baldassarre and her Trash Fashions designs, visit her website at www.trash-fashions.com, or join her Facebook group to hear about upcoming events and fashion shows.