CHARLOTTE — Twenty-three local artists, 45 models, stylists and performers took fashion from the recycling bin to the runway at the EcoFAB Trash Couture Fashion Show May 4 at the Crown Plaza in Charlotte and one local artist was right in the middle of it all.
Fort Mill-based artist Marcee Musgrove of White Lotus Arts and visual artist Flavia Lovatelli of Mooresville, N.C., imagined and created the Art Ecologie group out of which the show developed. Other local residents also participated in the show.
Flavia really wanted to promote the idea that things we think of as trash can be beautiful. Im about the artists and the lifting up, Musgrove said.
The Art Ecologie premise is to promote one another in our individual art in bringing attention to who we are by different means, different vehicles. We are all artists, different in our media, our techniques, our voice, but we all have one thing in common, passion for creating and the ability to step outside our everyday skills to bring something different as a group.
The pair pitched their idea to the micro-grant program Queen City Soup and won a grant that partially funded the project. A call for artists brought the group up to 23 diverse members of both genders and various cultural backgrounds. The artists met once a month to share ideas and information in space donated to the project by Women Centered Art, an organization that really honors women in art, Musgrove said. The result was 45 original fashions all created primarily from recycled materials.
Fort Mill High School sophomore and first-time fashion model Taylor Otten wore a deep blue silk creation by Musgrove that featured braided cloth and bubble wrap.
This is my first time modeling. Ive been doing pageants for a few years. My friends mom recommended me to Marcee and Im really glad I did it, she said.
Jonathan Williams modeled one of Flavia Lovatellis recycled paper creations and shared his experience of the event:
She excited me. I told her I would help in any way I can. I thought I would be setting up and moving tables, he said. I want to show her Im not afraid. Artists can express themselves, and so I can express myself. I love being around them. What its taught me is to be more free, not to be shackled by the supposed limits. Its kind of like you hear rock and roll, but do you feel rock and roll? he says.
Designer Bree Saya, an art major at UNC Charlotte concentrating in fibers, contributed four edgy pop-culture inspired designs to the show. She spoke about one of her pieces that she made using her old Barbie dolls.
I was going through my attic and I found them. Thats all their heads of hair, she said, motioning toward the skirt of her piece modeled by Avery Glenn.
I took them apart piece by piece their arms, their legs, their hair and put them in piles. Its also an art piece but it stands alone as a fashion piece.
Mellisa Nicholson of Fort Mill Faces created unique makeup designs to complement the fashions. By the start of the show, the models had been splatter painted, steampunked, transformed into water nymphs, tribal warriors, and even road kill. She had no idea how many faces she had done.
I started with eight looks and just kept adding, she said.
Nicholsons glitter lips in various colors were such a hit that after seeing them on the models, a few ladies in the audience sought her out before the show to get them as well.
Katie Millard and Cooper Musgrove of Fort Mill performed pre-show entertainment on vocals and guitar. Fort Mill High School percussionists Duncan Nicholson, David Rose, Sara Becker and Cooper Musgrove performed Julie Davilas Stool Pigeon, a piece written to be performed using wooden bar stools as instruments.
At the conclusion of the show, the audience was invited to meet and greet the artists, see the designs up close, and learn more about their work.
I thought it was a very good show, commented audience member and Charlotte area model Liza Larie, who especially enjoyed the tailored pieces of Bill Evans, a very bold red and silver gown by Flavia Lovatelli, and Claudia Sorias corseted tea-length dress made of recycled paper maps and black netting.
Musgrove was pleased with the public response to this years event.
They hear the buzz and know the caliber of artists. Its beautiful. We know well do it again next year.