Local sustainable designs to be featured at Walton Arts Center during run of ‘Once on This Island’

Jahmaul Bakare as ‘Agwe’ in the North American Tour of “Once On This Island.”

Courtesy image

A new Broadway show is coming to Walton Arts Center this week, and some sustainable fashion designs by local designers will be on display for patrons to check out before the show.

The new exhibition, called Divinity from the Discarded will feature clothing by six local designers made from recycled materials. The show is being held in concert with Once On This Island, playing at Walton Arts Center Feb. 11-16, which features similarly sustainable costuming.

The show is set on a hurricane-ravaged island, and costume designer Clint Ramos was challenged to incorporate trash and found objects into his designs for the show.

“The whole unifying thought of the design was, how do we create divinity from the discarded,” Ramos said.

Walton Arts Center officials put out a call for entries last month for the Divinity from the Discarded show, and a member of the creative team for the show selected designs by locals Brandy Lee, Trisha Guting, Sarah White, Rosie Rose, and Alyssa Bird for the exhibit.

The garments will be on display in the Walker Atrium 90 minutes prior to each performance of Once on This Island, as well as during the Walton Arts Center’s normal lobby hours from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Tickets for Once on This Island show starts at $40 plus fees, and can be purchased at waltonartscenter.org.

Brandy Lee – Trash Diamond Dream

Materials: Salvaged laminate padding
Curator’s Notes: This dress exemplifies one of the tenets of upcycling, which is to make use of the natural qualities of the found material. Here the designer takes advantage of the material’s sturdiness to not only create a diamond cut-out pattern but also to draft a flattering dress shape.


Trisha Guting – Sagut ni Silaw (Bringing Light)

Materials: Double hammered bottle caps, aluminum pull tabs from cans, CDs, plastic bags, packing foam and Mylar balloons.
Curator’s Notes: Being able to bring to mind another time or place with discarded items of the here and now is part of the fun of upcycling. While ingeniously using many modern materials, this piece evokes an ancient indigenous divinity.


Sarah White – Summer Dress

Materials: Plastic bags.
Curator’s Notes: At its core, upcycling is about contrasts as we make useful that which has been considered useless. This summer dress is a beautiful example of celebrating the contrast. Here a light knit-like summer look is in contrast to the plastic bags from which it was made.

Rosie Rose – Swan Dress

Materials: Fabric scraps from linen clothing production and plastic soda pop rings.
Curator’s Notes: Upcycling can be truly transformative practice. In this piece the materials have been transformed into an ombré tutu dress that has a sense of motion not found in but created by the discarded materials.

Alyssa Bird – The SPACE to Transform

Materials: Test print and misprinted t-shirts from a local screen printing company.
Curator’s Notes: One of the tangential benefits of upcycling is the opportunity to highlight local stories. This piece is not only inventive fashion but great storytelling.

Elizabeth Koerner – Waste Not, Want Not

Materials: Packing fabric, ribbon and trim
Curator’s Notes: We talk about going from day to evening but here we have gone from discarded to high fashion. This piece of wearable arts shows how upcycling can be a legitimate technique in fashion design and creation.