File photo by Steve Mitchell

Expect the creatively outlandish at the Trashion Show.

By Ashley Ahearn

If you haven’t got your tickets for the eighth annual Trashion Show on Saturday (May 5), you better get on that. Last year more than 500 people attended, dressed in their finest … well, finest pieces of trash and recyclables, that is.

“It’s our biggest event of the year,” said Sarah Jo Lightner, executive director of Confluence Gallery in Twisp, which puts on the Trashion Show at the Methow Valley Community Center. Lightner’s favorite outfits include a dress made entirely of zippers and one made of felted dog and cat hair.

“It’s the one event of the year where all the local folks let their freak flag fly. It’s half about the designs and half about the community coming together to do something fun,” she said.

This year the gallery is auctioning off a judge’s seat to one lucky attendee who will get to watch the show from the judge’s panel and help decide the winners. Opening bid for that is $50.

The event raises roughly $7,000, which the gallery uses to fund its artist business skills program and Art Camp for Every Child (which is now at maximum capacity for this summer).  

The Trashion Show was started by a group of locals, lead by Donna Kaiser and Lisa Doran, and originally took place at the Confluence Gallery, though it quickly outgrew that space.

The show was originally based around Earth Day and environmental messaging, Lightner said. “It was about wanting to bring light to all the stuff that ends up in landfills or recycling centers and how we can make better use of these items and have a stage to show our need to curb our addiction to all these plastics, straws and bottle caps and stuff — and also make it into something beautiful,” she said.

Lightner added that she’s always impressed by the entries from kids in the community. Last year two boys made a dress entirely out of board games — Monopoly pieces, playing cards, etc. — and had their 11-year-old little sister model it. “She did great,” Lightner recalls, “But we did have to get permission from her parents for her to participate because we normally do not let anyone younger than 13 attend the show.”

Some of the outfits can be a bit racy, Lightner said. “Hillary Ketcham always makes something over the top,” she said. “One year she used light-deprivation film from a pot-growing operation and cut these details out of it to make a dominatrix outfit. We want to make sure parents are aware that some people’s butt cheeks are gonna be sticking out. It’s not necessarily for all ages.”

As for whether or not there have been any Janet Jackson-esque wardrobe malfunctions, “Yes, yes there have been,” Lightner chuckled.  

Audience members are encouraged to dress in their finest, take lots of pictures and share them under the social media hashtag: #wigsandsparkles.

Trashion Show basics

Confluence Gallery stages its eighth annual Trashion Show at the Methow Valley Community Center in Twisp on Saturday (May 5). Doors open at 6 p.m. and the event begins at 7 p.m. Cost is $20 in advance at the gallery or online at VIP front row seating is available at the gallery only for $45. The Fork food truck will be serving dinner from 5-10 p.m., and there will be a cash bar. For information, call 997-2787 or email