"It was such an awesome mix of people," says SustainAbility director Rachel Nathan. "It was people from the fashion and salon world, the recycling world, people who were into vegan food. We were wondering how it was going to work -- it being people from such different backgrounds all together at the same time -- but it was great. And I'm so glad so many of our guys could make it."
The "our guys" Nathan is referring to was a representation of the more than sixty developmentally disabled individuals that SustainAbility has made a point of employing. In addition to promoting this workforce, the fundraiser brought attention to the overlooked issue of harmful pollutants and irresponsible waste within the world of hair care.
"We have committed ourselves to becoming 90 percent waste-free," says Lisa Garcia, owner of Bang Salon, the evening's featured model of sustainability.
The evening began with an art show featuring Eric Dallimore, Deanne Nixon and Johanna Mueller, with music provided by Kyle James Hauser. After Garcia presented Rachel Nathan and Bang designer Kristy Koopman with a bouquet of flowers, the main event began: a recycle-themed fashion show with designs by Buffalo Exchange and 100 percent recycled headpieces by Bang Salon.
The designs reflected a certain Project Runway style, evoking the challenges of making sharp, stunning creations while using only a hodgepodge of throwaway materials like newspaper, wire and foam. The fashion show itself was scored by a West African drum circle, led by Swallow Hill's Ed Contreras.
In an adjacent room, the fundraising continued with handmade, recycled bags by the S.O.U.L. Foundation (which only recently returned from Africa, where it hosted a sustainable employment program for Ugandan women), as well as offerings from WaterCourse Foods, which cooked up vegan baked goods.
"The event went so well," says Nathan, who came close to reaching the Sherman Event Center's capacity of 400 bodies. "It was definitely a success." And when you're combining the delicious pleasures of fashion and food with the undeniable philanthropy of sustainable business and employing the disabled, the show was a delight that anyone could get behind.
More photos of Recycled Runway fashion designs are on Page 2.