Midlands Trashion Show Makes Recycled Plastic look Fantastic

by | Jul 24, 2019

Crisp packets litter the landscape of many Midlands villages. Tetrapak is often burnt, plastic bottles bob in wetlands and take-way plastic tubs clog gutters. There is one ton of plastic for every person on Earth, much of it is packaging material that has been used just once.

At this year’s Trashion Show in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, much of this trash came to new life in the hands of creative eco-conscious students intent on standing out on the ramp. In it’s fifth year, the show has grown in size and popularity.  Before the show, children were seen gathering garbage, diving into recycling bins and picking up sweet papers outside tuck shops. With limited municipal collection in many areas, youngsters passionate about protecting their environment, understand that there is no such place as ‘away’.  The trip to the ocean and into a turtle’s stomach starts right outside your home.

On the morning of the show, bottle tops and bubble wrap burst out of buses that had trundled all the way from Impendle, Ixopo, Pennington and the Drakensberg bearing excited trashionistas. The Khazimula Marimba Band, wearing funky pet food waistcoats, welcomed them with lively beats.

From the moment people arrived to mingle with the creative kids in the grounds, they made wonderful memories. Nontobeko Zwane a teacher from Nobanda Primary, said, “We had an awesome time. It was fun and educational, we learnt a lot. It was super amazing. Mind blowing fun.”

Bimla Kemi from Amanzimtoti said, “The smiles the models wore were most memorable”. Educators from Phoenix were amazed at the talent on display. “Jaw-dropping” is how Rebecca Wakeford of Midlands Community College described it, and Amanda McCarthy was astonished at the creativity, in particular the wonderful use of materials one never thought would have another life.

Phillipa Gordon, a judge, who looked splendid in fetching horse feed bag dresses with co-coordinating chunky bottle top necklaces, said, “The detail and creativity of the kids blows me away every year. When you combine huge doses of enthusiasm, determination and dedicated teachers and mentors from mostly rural schools with limited resources – you get magic.”

The overwhelming message was to reuse, recycle and do it in style. The show also encourages learners to explore their design skills, express their creativity and shine.  The suburban kids use more yoghurt tubs, the farm kids make the most of feed bags and the township kids collect chip packets and sweet wrappers for their costumes.

Smanga Dlamini, an educator from Shea O’Connor Combined School said that this show teaches learners about taking care of the environment and pollution and entrepreneurship. Fellow teacher Antonia Mkhabela said, “On the way home in the taxis the students were over the moon with excitement for the opportunity to showcase what they made – especially as many of their parents had come to watch them. The show made them realise that litter is a serious problem and the solution should come from us all.


  • For all the details and for the unedited version of this visit Midlands Mosaic
  • Images by Guy McGowan
  • Pictures in copy from top to bottom are of: a group of girls; AvelaMncwabe; Noluthando Zamisa, a second group of girls and Jordan Chetty
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