Turning garbage into Gucci, Cisco Brewers has made recycling trendy again.
Nothing about picking up trash is particularly sexy, but one summer event on the island has achieved exactly that. On July 9th, Cisco Brewers will roll out the runway once again for the fourth annual Trashion Show, a visual extravaganza that combines stunning models, creative clothing designers and heaps of garbage collected from the surrounding beaches to raise awareness around sustainability and waste reduction. The brainchild of Cisco Brewers partner Jay Harman, all proceeds of the event go to supporting ACK Clean Team, a volunteer organization dedicated to keeping Nantucket litter free.
“Our goal is not to raise environmental awareness for a single day,” says Tracy Wilde Long, the manager of Cisco Brewers, which has achieved its goal of drastically reducing plastic waste in recent years. “We want people to take our message home and make it a part of their everyday lives whether that is on Nantucket or not.” Hosted by Holly Finigan of Nantucket blACKbook and “Uncle Ricky,” the Trashion Show inspires people to take a fresh look at their everyday waste and its impact on the island.
The festivities kick off with an island-wide beach cleanup, where Trashion Show designers scout for materials to create their run- way wardrobe. During the first Trashion Show, some designers ordered materials like plastic utensils and straws online to create their outfits—completely defeating the point of the show. Since then, stricter guidelines have been put in place, emphasizing that the materials actually need to be gathered during the beach cleanup.
“You start to view the trash in a different light,” says veteran Trashion Show designer Fraser Long. “A washed-up fishing net becomes a gown that looks like real runway clothing, not just someone dressing up in a costume.” Long is teaming up again this year with model Katie Turnage to create an ensemble that highlights the environmental consequences of keeping a perfectly groomed garden. “Many people don’t think about how something natural like a garden actually generates a lot of waste,” Turnage says. “Even if just one person takes our message to heart, it will be worth it.”
Support for the Trashion Show has grown significantly over the last four years, literally elevating the event from a junky runway of flattened cardboard boxes to a three-foot-high catwalk that rivals that of the glitziest fashion shows. Past shows have grabbed front-page headlines with surprise runway appearances by the likes of Barstool Sports media titan Dave Portnoy, pop star Brynn Cartelli and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover model Camille Kostek. With hair and makeup services donated by RJ Miller Salon & Spa and Darya Salon & Spa and lodging for celebrity guests provided by Harborview Nantucket, the Trashion Show is made possible through a community effort, including the help of dozens of volunteers.
Most of all, the Trashion Show puts a fashionable face on the unsung work being done by the many volunteers who spend their Saturdays picking up trash around the island. Since the early 2000s, ACK Clean Team has collected hundreds of tons of trash from every corner of Nantucket. Every week year-round, a new location is posted for volunteers to converge on wearing rubber gloves and bearing trash bags. Picking wrappers out of poison ivy and balloons off the beaches, the ACK Clean Team is trying to ensure that of all the models strutting the catwalk at Cisco Brewers, the Grey Lady remains the most beautiful of all.
To join the ACK Clean Team, contact email@example.com.