FARMINGTON — Thirty-three Sandy River area Girl Scouts ages 4 to 63 wowed a large audience on Saturday afternoon at the second annual Trash Can Couture Fashion Show at the University of Maine.

And there was plenty of couture, or fashionable made-to-measure clothes, created in true fashionista style from trash bags of all colors, newspapers, duct tape, lace, balloons and feathers.

Contestants walked the runway to music and flashing colored lights provided by Jeff Bivens aka DJ Warlock, and modeled their outfits in front of judges Tammy Goldfrank, Longfellow Restaurant; Amy Alexcovich, DMD, Strong Dental Clinic; and Tammie Gould, administrative assistant/manager, United Economic Ministries in Salem.

“Wasn’t that great?” Megan Norster, the show’s emcee and volunteer mother from Strong, said afterward.

The show was sponsored by Kingfield Girl Scout Troop 54 as its community service project.

“It’s more than just playing in duct tape and trash bags,” Norster said. “We want to raise awareness and have a good time doing it, so these girls can grow up to be future leaders.”

The show began with a Tribute Walk by the Kingfield troop contestants, who solemnly walked on stage carrying flickering electric candles. Behind them on the big screen, a PowerPoint slide show of the names of Maine’s military residents killed in action in wars since 2004 slowly scrolled by.

Each girl holding a candle walked to the front of the stage, bent and placed it on the outer edge while girls holding large signs reading, “Hope,” “Love” and “Kindness,” stepped forward at center stage facing the audience.

“Our concept this year was, ‘What About Angels?’ and we wanted to make sure our girls know that our military sacrifices a lot for them,” Norster said. 

“We want to make sure it doesn’t die with this generation of how honorable these men and women are, and we thought it was appropriate to honor their memory with something like this so people would understand.

“‘Yeah, we’re having a good time with trash bags,’ but at the end of the day, it is for a really good cause, and we need to support our troops and support our country and that’s really what it’s all about,” Norster said.

The show additionally benefits the United Methodist Economic Ministry in Salem, neighbors of the Sandy River area Girl Scouts and homeless people.

“What (our Girl Scouts) do is they earn money for ‘blessing bags,’ which are bags they fill with toiletries, snacks and small toys for homeless people in the area,” Norster said.

Prior to the show, the children and adults donned their costumes, and most stood nervously, waiting to parade down the catwalk and stand on the big X in front of the judges.

“Every costume had to have a trash bag base and you could use lace, duct tape or whatever else, but the dress itself had to be made with trash bags,” Norster said.

Last year’s debut event was open to children ages 4 to 12. This year, however, organizers opened it to the public and adults, one of whom was Austin Thorndike, the Strong Girl Scouts troop leader. He garnered lots of funny catcalls from the mostly female audience when he modeled a black trash-bag vest and was asked to return to the X for pictures.

Saturday’s event also featured a first.

“We had three generations of trash bag wearers this time,” Norster said. “We had little Irelynn Kangas, 4, and her mother, Holly Kangas, and Irelynn’s grandmother, Karen Kangas. We didn’t have that last year, because we didn’t have it open for adults.

“Last year, myself and the leaders wore  trash bags, but we never extended it to the public. But we decided to open it up this year to have more fun. People had a really good time, because some grownups like to play, too.”

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.