Arts and Culture 2011

Amy Holtcamp



Recycled fashion runs wild at Runaway Runway

Posted 4/30/2011 3:54:00 AM

I’m just back from a wild night at Columbia’s premier fashion event, Runaway Runway! The Township Auditorium was filled with South Carolina fashionistas enjoying this unique, eco-friendly fashion show.

Organized by the Columbia Design League, Runaway Runway proves once and for all that going green is chic, fun and fabulous. Designers compete to create the best look using only used and post-consumer materials. In other words, these designers turn yesterday’s trash into tomorrow’s treasures.

The creations on the runway tonight were stunning. Models sported outfits made of old CD’s, cassette tapes, greeting cards, caution tape, laundry sheets picked out of the trash at the laundromat, shopping bags, bottle caps and a variety of other repurposed materials.

The creativity on display was amazing. Liesel and Susan Hamilton created a faux-fur ensemble by sewing together the “pelts” of discarded stuffed animals. The phrase “100 percent compostable” isn’t usually used to describe haute couture, but Caroline Hatchell’s dress made of pine straw, leaves and flowers was fabulous.

Some of the gowns looked as if they belonged on the red carpet, despite the fact that they were made out of, well, trash. A floaty cocktail dress made of used plastic, Publix shopping bags looked good enough to grace the racks at Banana Republic, and the runner up for Top Designer, Kyle Taylor Kirchman’s dress made of Pepsi cans was elegant, old Hollywood glamour in aluminum.

The Bruce Bahr Award for Top Designer, named after the late founding Columbia Design League Board member, went to Miles Purvis’ design “Alice in Recycle Land,” which created a whimsical Mad Hatter out of aluminum cans.

After the awards were announced, I headed across the street to the Inspired Design Studio at the Robert Mills House. This elegant after-party was hosted by Lake Carolina and Runaway Runway sponsor, Inspired Communities. The Inspired Design Studio was the perfect end to this inspired evening and gave me a chance to mingle with the designers and get an up close peak at some of their runway creations.

Runaway Runway is an annual fundraiser for the Columbia Design League, an offshoot of the Columbia Museum of Art whose mission is to promote excellence in design. It offers programs throughout the year meant to inspire a passion for design including the intimate Designer Series, which brings Design League members into the homes and studios of local designers. Click here for more information on the Columbia Design League.