Since debuting Garbage Gone Glam to high praise at Couture Fashion Week 2016, Opera Recycles have made a substantial contribution to fashion repurposing outdated print marketing collateral as haute couture eveningwear. Fostering awareness with a uniquely green perspective, they were back on the runway this year with an entirely new eco-friendly line of eye-catching, inventive gowns. Since Opera Recycles uses materials like pamphlets and programs to create designs, their approach to patterning is layer-based and whimsical. The bold colors and vivid imagery of crowded flyers and brochures which were once effective at drawing the attention of opera-goers are combined to play off one another like patchwork, creating a sophisticated, ornamental effect.
Opera Recycles’ design process is also multitudinous. For this spring collection, Director of Marketing Megan Miller brought together some of the finest designers from the brand’s local Charlotte, NC, and across the globe. This group of talented designers included Vivre Canvas Couture’s Kristen Alyce, award-winning hair and make-up artist Lyndsee Hairston, and Ecuadorian expressionist Rocio Llusca. On the runway in various vibrant outfits – a strapless mermaid tail maxi, regal Victorian-style frills, form-fitting halters with asymmetrical necklines, and flowing print-covered skirts – were opera singers. Accompanied by the prolific Pacien Mazzagatti, stars Chelsea Bonagura, Kelsey Robertson, Samarie Alicea, and Sarah Nelson Craft gave voice to aria selections decked out in piecemeal scraps fashioned into designer gold.
It takes initiative to turn trash into meaningful, runway-worthy attire. Opera Carolina, Megan Miller’s organization behind Opera Recycles, can be credited with a collection that made the catwalk a cultural statement about far more than popular trends. With mere scraps, Opera Recycles made the stage, visual art, fashion, and music an interconnected clothing line with environmental integrity. Now that’s something to sing about.
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