Foraged Fashion

People across the planet cleaned up beaches in celebration of World Oceans Day in early June, but there are no beaches in the Midlands.

The least we could do was prevent more plastic from entering our rivers, and ultimately oceans, by turning foraged finds into fabulous trash-fashion!

On the banks of the uMngeni River, the Howick Agricultural Hall exploded with colour and catcalls as 120 learners strutted their spectacular stuff.  Everyone was astonished at their creativity and imagination – each outfit was unique and used a vast array of foraged materials – coke cans, feed bags, paper cups, onion sacks, discarded CDs, old newspapers and juice cartons.

r Trashion Show by Des van TonderErica Brown, who has attended all the events, since the small beginnings at Corrie Lynn School in Dargle a few years ago, commented, “I thought the first one with just 15 kids was fantastic, but it gets bigger, better and more amazing each time. A sensational show!”

audiencePart of the waste extravaganza was a musical wall built from rubbish. Cleverly constructed by Kings School teacher, Charlene Russell and friends, from discarded bicycle wheels, coffee cans, repurposed plastic pipes and cake tins.  This was a great hit with the kids and kept them entertained as more and more taxis rolled up filled with creative and enthusiastic children.

r rubbish music - photo by Des van TonderThere was a parade of wire cars with prizes awarded for the best delivery van, the best woman driver and the best wheels. The country kids took the top honours with Abahle Zuma from uBunye in Impendle being awarded best driver for his wire car, while Thabiso Ngcobo of Corrie Lynn took the prize for best steering.  The award for the best Box Car went to Nhlakanipho Duma of Jabula Primary in Lidgetton.

wire car wheelsInnovative technology lessons facilitated by the MMEP in local schools, use waste materials to teach this subject.   Learners proudly showed off their 3D models of houses with water tanks, furniture, cars and model laptops.

18922517_10154442178527117_8148491108822798722_oShea O’Connor Combined School from Nottingham Road stunned us with their inspired creations and took home many of the prizes. Siphesihle and Akhona Mchunu made great use of multiple types of waste to create their original outfits.

r Spesihle Mchunu and Akhona Mchunu from Shea OConnor school by Des van TonderThe teams of judges had a challenging task, but thoroughly enjoyed chatting to the learners about their creations and admiring the details up close.

judging accessories by Des van TonderNoluthando Mnguni looked splendid in her traditional isixolo (hat) made of waste card, while Mpo Chinowe’s sunglasses and earrings caught the judges eye. Asanda Malinga’s Nike branded outfit attracted a lot of attention as did Nonkanyiso Dladla’s bridal gown.

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Grade 11 learner Nombulelo Ndabezitha designed many of the outfits and looked particularly stylish in discarded poly-propolene packaging with red bottle top accents.  One simply never knows what treasures you will find at the recycling centre (or in the gutter).

Nombulelo Ndabazitha from Shea OConnor by Nikki Brighton

From Misty Meadows School,  Dineo Ziqubu created a froth from old newspapers for her ballerina skirt, Gina Rayner wore a clever coke can combo and Yaelah Sharpley got a special prize for her outfit as a character from the movie Frozen.

r H Mthabiseng Zikhubu of Misty Meadows School by Lynne Garbutt Zandile Sikhakhane, who accompanied learners from Impendle, says the were so surprised to see the ‘out of this world’ outfits created by other schools.  On their way home, they started planning their 2018 creations! One parent commented afterwards that she thought waste was meant to burnt, but now she has changed her mind.

trashion hat by Des van tonderThembilihle kids, who put a lot of effort into their costumes, had a great time despite feeling a little overwhelmed by the vibrant occasion.  Siyabonga Nyawuza’s outfit with cardboard hat got a special mention and Zaziwe Sibaya’s ensemble was declared ‘Wow’!

Zaziwe Sibiya from Thembilihle by Lynne GarbuttHannah Zunckel of Laddsworth delighted everyone with her pirate costume complete with cutlass made from an HTH bottle and cardboard.

Hannah Zunckel - the pirate by Des van TonderTo keep energy levels up there was fresh popcorn to snack on (in folded newspaper cups) and in-season oranges, while everyone mingled and admired the displays. Singakwenza showcased their trash toys and clever ideas for early childhood development tools using waste. iPhepha Beads displayed beautiful paper bead jewelry made from discarded calendars.  A Grandmother from Bruntville, inspired by her grandson’s trashion creations last year, started her own business crocheting bags from waste plastic and brought along her wares to show off.

handbag and popcorn by Des van Tonder

Children from Khazimula in Lidgetton entertained the crowd with energetic traditional dancing which encouraged everyone in the audience to get on their feet for a final twirl to Brenda Fassie’s hit song Vulindlela.

18813974_10154442184857117_1699982416700682985_nNikki Brighton of Dargle Conservancy pointed out that every minute one big rubbish truck of plastic waste is dumped into our oceans – so there is a lot of plastic floating about, entangling wildlife, being eaten by mistake by fish and birds and breaking down to form an invisible toxic plastic soup.  Scientists estimate that in 30 years’ time, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.  “We are celebrating creativity today, by not using new materials, but by scavenging waste – keeping it out of our rivers and giving it a new life. Thank you everyone for caring about the planet we share with so many other creatures,” she said.

r trashion sistasThandolwethu Khanyile couldn’t wait to get home to tell her mom she was a Trashion Star. “When I am older, I will open a fashion shop with my own brand of clothing made of trash and encourage everyone to take care of the environment,” she said.  Vice-principal of Shea O’Connor School and proud teacher of these eco-conscious kids, Antonia Mkhabela, added “I wish all schools would do trashion because this is where environmental education becomes real. It develops creativity, critical thinking and new skills.”

antonia and Shea OC teachersThis year the Trashion Show was a collaboration between Dargle Conservancy, Mpophomeni Conservation Group and Midlands Meander Education Project.  Upcycled, earth friendly prizes were sponsored by E’Yako Green, Singakwenza, Pink Menstrual Products, Meriel Mitchell and Mark Liptrot.  Many thanks to everyone for contributing to the success of the day.

r Mark Liptrot

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Trashionistas Unite to Save the Planet

Recycling is not really going to save us from extinction,

but at least it demonstrates that one is conscious of the unnecessary waste we all produce.  Re-using rubbish may seem quaint now, but there is little doubt that with natural resources already over extracted, mining dumpsites will be the norm in future.  Midlands youngsters are already set to make the most of discarded treasure.

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Nearly 50 learners gathered for the Glam Green Occasion of the Season – the annual Dargle Trashion Show – last weekend.  There were coffee cup ball gowns and feed bag suits, plastic packet shorts,  and dog food frocks.   The creativity was nothing short of astounding and everyone had a fabulous time.

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Vice Prinipal, Antonia Mkhabela of Shea O’Connor Combined, was startled when she asked her learners to register for the Trashion Show and 63 put their names down!  This school has an impressive environmental ethic and we were thrilled to host the 28 learners whose outfits had impressed Antonia the most.

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Louis Bolton, Celebrity Photographer, had everyone pose before the show began – many of these photos are taken by him. Other photos by Lynne Garbutt and Nikki Brighton.

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Girls and boys strutted their stuff on the ramp, created from farmyard fencing and bunting made from discarded magazines, on the lawn of Lion’s River Club.

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Compere, Eidin Griffin drew attention the tiny details – the earrings, shoes, handbags and trims which may have gone unnoticed in the swirl of colour.

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Maningi Duma (Grade 1 and Kings Primary) stole the show with her exhuberant pasta packet hat and sunny personality.

Celebrity Judges Trayci Tompkins, Andrea Abbot and Caro Richter were entranced and created lots categories to ensure that everyone was rewarded for their ingenuity.

r celebrity judges Trayci Tompkins ZULU LULU, Caro Richter Meander Chronicle,  Andrea Abbott Journalist Country Life

There were The Dapper Lads, The Beautiful Babes and Junior Trash. Prizes were sponsored by Eyakho Green – who give new life to waste, turning advertising banners into bags and shoes and satchels.  Meriel Mitchell made lots of pencil cases and shopping bags from fabric scraps too.

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“What a wonderful event you created. I’m so glad I was there! I met wildly talented and just plain nice people and fell in  love all over again with the creative and inventive creatures scattered around the Midlands,” enthused Caro Richter of the Meander Chronicle.

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Mr Recycle, Spesihle Mchunu  (Grade 10 Shea O’Connor School), was their choice for a special prize of a solar lantern for his exceptional costume, topped off with some impromptu dancing!

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Ted Rayner and Sisi Mlalazi (Misty Meadows School) made a dashing couple.

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Principal of Misty Meadows, Cassie Janisch said “We had an absolute ball at the Dargle Trashion Show.  I think the effort made by all the participants was fantastic! We are already looking forward to next year… My boys have got some ideas for wire cars from watching the experts this morning.”

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Zandile Sihkahane who facilitates the Sustainable School Programme in Impendle (supported by Dargle Conservancy) was completely inspired. “I wish to do the same thing in Impendle. I have shown the children how to make many things, like wallets, from rubbish, but getting them all together for a competition is a very good idea. We will be here next year.”

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The joint Best Outfits in the Beautiful Babes category was worn by Ashley Nkosana (Grade 8) who had spent hours cutting old plastic bags into strips and weaving them into cloth, and Silindile Zigubu (Grade 11) who wore a tailored dress made of white sacks, decorated with fabric flowers retrieved from the rubbish bin, with bag and shoes to match.

Thandolethu Khanyile’s bottle top detail on her blouse and impressive hat earned her a couple of prizes in the accessories category.

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Sbongile Ndlovu (Grade 12 at Shea O’Connor) works part time in the local tuck shop so collect all the discarded chip packets to turn into her frothy frock.

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Akhona Mchunu had made a delicate parasol (that opened and closed) with discarded sticks and plastic. Really impressive.

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Thenjiwe Ngcobo, Principal of Corrie Lynn Primary,  said her children had enjoyed the gathering and had learnt a lot from seeing and hearing what the others had done. “Sharing ideas and skills encourages us all because everyone does things differently.”

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Maureen Mabizela, Principal of Dargle Primary “There was such excitement at school on Monday with everyone sharing their stories. Thank you for inviting us to be part of such an adventurous educational brain development activity!”.  One of the Dargle parents who attended, Thenjiwe Dangazela, said she was sorry that she had not participate before – we will certainly see her at the 2017 event!

Mr Dlamini a teacher at Shea O’Connor was delighted that his his kids were able to put classroom learning into action “The real way to learn!” he quipped. He couldn’t help doing an impromptu dance with little Thandolethu in Grade 3 in her winning outfit.

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Dargle pupil, Nhlanhla Zuma, was very striking in his yellow ensemble. He had made a wire car too which had the ‘best steering’- earning him two prizes!

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Winner of the most colourful AND fastest wire car was Kwandokuhle Ndlovu. Kwandokuhle was the uber cool designer behind many of the glamorous outfits too.

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Judges Barry Downard and Iain Meyer decided that Brandon Chatilsa’s car was the most powerful 4×4.  Jas and Lily Goodwin won the best economy class, Ayanda Mhlongo took the prize for the most technical and Lusanda Zuma got a special mention for his rear cooler box while Syamthanda Mkhize’s car had the best detail.

The Dargle Drag Race was a speedy affair! With Jesse Chantunya entering a Kings classmate, Wandisa’s, car as he couldn’t make it.

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An actual recycled husband was spotted in the audience!

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Iona and Luncinda Bate made masses of popcorn and oranges for all the participants to snack on. Iona commented “Huge congratulations, a huge success and such a great turn out. The outfits were amazing and it was gorgeous to see all the girls so proud in their dresses!” Pat Draper suggested to Shea O’Connor Principal, Nicholas Nxumalo, that he encourage everyone to wear Trashion to the Matric Dance rather than spending a fortune of buying an outfit.

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When Antonia Mkhabela got home, her phone kept ringing with parents calling to thank her for organising the excursion for their children who had arrived home with huge smiles and lovely prizes “The parents were so excited, saying they did not think that trash could make such a huge impact. They told me that this has changed their perception about rubbish.” she reported with a grin.

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Gerhard le Roux was pleased he had come along. “I my eyes they were all winners! They were really proud of their creations.It was great to see the excitement. What a fantastic project.”

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Stylish Trayci Tompkins had great fun participating as a judge “The Trashion Show sure is bringing out the creativity in all! Loved seeing the different interpretations and use of recycled ‘waste’.  This is an event that is growing into something quite special.”

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Andrea Abbott, who wrote the Country Life article about last years show and really got the kids inspired when they saw their pictures published, has the last say “I enjoy myself immensely. The children are  wonderful; so confident and creative yet not for a moment holding high opinions of themselves. I wonder if they have any notion of how good they are? To see their designs and talents is to be inspired. Looking forward to Trashion Show 2017!”

As much as 2700 litres of water is used to make a cotton t-shirt and  even more to grow and manufacture a pair of jeans. With water becoming a scarce commodity,  we should all be rethinking our wardrobes – before you toss a packet, cup, bag, roll, hanger or can.

 

 

Dargle Trashion Show

July fever gripped Dargle last weekend. Eager boys lined up their wire cars for the inaugural running of the Dargle Drag Race, while local lovelies showed off their individually designed creations.

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Members of the Nxamalala Enviro Club, facilitated by Gugu Zuma and supported by Dargle Conservancy, have been finding new and creative ways to use waste.  Crisp packets litter the landscape of many Midlands villages, tetrapak is often burnt and plastic bottles bob in wetlands.  With no municipal collection out this way, the youngsters who are passionate about protecting their environment, came up with fun ways of using the resources that others throw away.

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Nhlanhla Zulu and Nkanyiso Zondi arrived early, their colourful car freshly polished and rearing to go.

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Wandiswa Ndlela of Corrie Lynn School posed in the Autumn light for the paparazzi before the crowds descended.

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Press, Celebrities and Trashionistas from across the Midlands arrived for the event of the season – from as far afield as Hillcrest and Mooi River.

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Stylish Percy Duma from Dargle School tested out the suspension on his shiny gold car along the Petrusstroom Road. Later in the day, he won the prize for Best Car (a wind up torch).

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Luyanda Madlala has always loved making wire cars, with scraps of wire, tops of tins and plastic tubs.  His articulated truck today featured two trailers – ideal for carting horses to the races! He lined up with the rest of the field waiting for their moment in the limelight.

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Nhlanhla Zulu polishes his shoes every morning before school and cleverly used the empty tins as wheels. He was Runner up in the Best Car category.

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Okuhle Zuma clearly really loved his car and received a special commendation for his creativity.

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Dargle locals were really impressed and thoroughly enjoyed their July morning in the sunshine (sans gin and tonic, unfortunately). “I am completely amazed at what these kids have created. Very impressive.”  said Brenda Grant.  “This was the most fun!” added Gilly Nelson, “I was determined not to miss this event.”

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Little Sphumelele Mpungase stole the show with her cool catwalk manner and bright blue wig.  Eidin Griffin, Master of Ceremonies couldn’t resist twirling with her!

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The details on Brandon Shateke’s outfit were gorgeous – sweet wrappers rolled into stars and spotted coffee cups as coat tails.  All foraged from the recycling bins at school apparently.  Brandon said afterwards “I feel really motivated by this event. The concepts of reduce, reuse, recycle make more sense now. It is our responsibility, not someone else’s, to clean up the planet.”

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Lyuanda Madlala from Nottingham Road won the prize for the best accessories – with a marvellous mask, waistcoat, fabulous hat and a splendid handbag.

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Lindokhuhle Skhosana was resplendent in white, cleverly accented with colour. Her outfit created from feed bags, plastic waste, bottle tops and danger tape.

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Lindokuhle was part of a creative team of eight from Shea O’Connor School in Nottingham Road who have been working late nights and over weekends to complete the stunning outfits.  Smartly dressed, Kwandokuhle Ndlovu, designer extraordinaire, was terribly excited to showcase his creations.

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Master of Ceremonies, Eidin Griffin chatted to him about his work. “Sometimes, I can’t sleep – my head is so full of ideas. My mom is so pleased to see that the effort I have put in is being appreciated and has earned me the Best Designer Award today.”

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Antonia Mkhabela, Life Science teacher at Shea O’Connor School, was full of praise for their efforts.  “I am so pleased to see them using their science and technology knowledge effectively and critically, also showing responsibility towards the environment and the health of others. These are exactly the sort of learners that the CAPS aims to produce – young people who can apply knowledge and skills in ways that are meaningful in their lives.”

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Gorgeous Wandisa Ndlela from Nxamalala was the overall winner in the Best Outfit category.  Her grandmother, Deli Zuma who had helped her stitch the costume, was thrilled.

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Then it was time for the Drag Race – the red flag dropped and off they dashed.

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The winner was the late entry blue car that had come up from far along the Petrusstroom road.  Young Nqobani Mpangase happily took home a wind up torch.

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For the celebratory feast afterwards, the Bate clan (Lucinda, Iona, Eunice and Emily) sliced fresh, bright oranges and popped plenty of popcorn, served in beautifully made newspaper cups.

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Principal of Corrie Lynn School, Thenjiwe Ngcobo, where the Trashion Show was staged had a lot of fun. “Next year it will be even more interesting” she promised. Plans are already being made for a gala event to coincide with the Dargle Local Market on 3 July 2016. Start planning your trashy outfit  right away!

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“What a splendid July celebration!”  said celebrity judge Brandon Powell before dashing off to watch a little Wimbledon and the actual Durban July on TV.

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