Students turn trash to treasure for charity

Forget the X-factor, Sydenham High students have got the eco factor, having turned everyday rubbish into stunning cat walk fashion and all for charity.

The aptly named Trashion event, held at the Westwood Hill school last Thursday evening, was not only a fashion and eco triumph but a fundraising one, raising some £2,000.

The event was the idea of Sydenham High Head Girls Tallulah Boote-Bond and Alex Terrieux-Taylor to raise money for the newly chosen school charity, MIND UK.

The enterprising teenagers challenged each of the four school Houses to design, make and model a selection of dresses made entirely from items and materials that would normally be thrown away.  Each house had to deliver a dress in one of five categories: 1970s, Eveningwear, Nature, 1950s and Futuristic.

The girls then organised a catwalk show with refreshments and some musical entertainment from some of the school’s most talented performers.  Then they added an extra element: an auction of promises from girls, staff and supporters.  The list of promises on offer included such sought after items as: bespoke jewellery, a painted family portrait, a Christmas present wrapping service and home baked cakes for 3 months. The Greenwich Theatre also donated two sets of family tickets for their popular Christmas Show Jack in the Beanstalk, which starts at the end of November.  Bidding was hotly contested and raised just over £1,300 of the final total.

Two experts – fashion designer and curator Giuseppina DeCamillo and fashion photographer and modelling agency owner Fay Louise Hill – judged the impressive creations and awarded winners in each category.  The winners were: Gurney for 1970s; Grey for Eveningwear; Grey for Nature; Gurney for 1950s and a tie between Shirreff and Stanley for Futuristic.

Ms DeCamillo, who has recently curated a successful eco fashion show in Japan, commented: “It is great to see such innovation – creating things of beauty and integrity through reinvention of discarded materials.  Big changes start with small decisions, including how we perceive clothes and the importance of considering more and wasting less.”

Ms Hill said: “It’s wonderful to see young women working together for such a good cause.”

Alex and Tallulah said of the experience:  “When we were deciding what to do for MIND UK we had four main aims: to raise lots of money, to generate awareness about the possibilities of recycling items from the local area, foster House spirit and have lots of fun.  We ticked all those boxes with Trashion and the girls designed and made amazingly creative pieces from things that would just normally be thrown away.”

“We are both incredibly proud of the outcome and we’ve received many compliments about the fashion, the evening and the outstanding total we raised.  However, the build-up to the evening was not without challenges. We had to overcome last minute rushes and the possibility of over-catering.  In the end we managed to pull off a wonderful evening of fashion, charity and music and we are all very thankful for the help and energy of the students and the support of the school.”

Sydenham High Headteacher, Kathryn Pullen who attended and introduced the evening said: “Trashion is fashion that’s got heart – fashion that feels good, looks good and does good and I couldn’t be prouder of our resourceful and inventive girls.   It was a big, risky idea but they pulled it off and with real style.”