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Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County has been known for building homes and hope in our community since its affiliate opened in 1988. This year, they’ll also be turning trash into fashionable treasure when they bring their 5th annual Trashion Show to the runway as a standalone event for the first time.

The fashion industry can be at the center of sustainability conflicts and practices, but Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County has turned that negativity on its head. Donor and Events Coordinator Kelli Fulton-Ratliff and Habitat Store Director Courtney Bartley recently sat down with WhatcomTalk to discuss Habitat for Humanity’s upcoming June 7th event, an entertaining trash-fashion runway show with drinks, food, games, and a way for the community to help make a difference while having a ball.

Since its inception in 1976, Habitat for Humanity has partnered with families in more than 70 countries to work side-by-side to help them build their own homes with the help of generous volunteers who understand the importance of the group’s mission.

The annual Trashion Show is a ball of a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity, a worthy organization in Whatcom County. Photo courtesy Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County

The Trashion Show

“This year, we’re separating the Trashion Show into its own event,” says Fulton-Ratliff. “It used to be part of our auction; a fun thing at the end. We’re really big on recycling and try to save as much as we possibly can from going into the landfill. For this [event], we normally have about five to 10 models, but this year we’re going to have 18 to 20 designers with models.”

The Trashion Show is a fundraiser featuring a full runway fashion show, a silent auction for uniquely upcycled furniture, raffles for locally sourced goods, and exciting games where attendees can win prizes. “We’ll have a food truck and local drinks, as well,” says Fulton-Ratliff.

Designers dress models in a variety of upcycled materials including newspapers, pop can tabs, photographs and more. Photo courtesy Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County

On the Runway

Trashion Show ensembles are inventive creations designed with sustainability in mind. Designers are tasked with creating outfits made of at least 75% recycled materials — keeping a theme of “eco-chic elegance” in mind.

Past designs have featured floor length gowns created entirely of pop can tabs, a hoop skirt featuring local beer cans and coffee cups, and a 1960’s-inspired wiggle dress made of only used dryer sheets.

This year, so much interest was shown in the Trashion Show that the Habitat Store had to close the submission form early! Among the nearly 20 designs that will be on display on the runway, you can find an up cycled tablecloth Victorian-Era suit, a rockstar jacket made with a thousand bottle caps, and a gown of cascading paper florals.

The designers will compete to win cash prizes from the judges and the audience.

All Trashion show designs are created with sustainability and recycling in mind. Photo courtesy Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County

Purpose

As an organization, Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County values the positive and sustainable outlook this event always provides. “We see a lot of potential in the Trashion Show,” says Fulton-Ratliff. “Seeing how fun it was in the past, we wanted to make it bigger.”

All proceeds from the event go toward the homes Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County builds in our community. “We have prizes from some of the breweries, swag, and sports swag baskets. We also have salon and beauty care baskets,” says Fulton-Ratliff. “A big one is the ticket package to Climate Pledge Arena.”

Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to building affordable and sustainable housing for communities and low-income families. “Any fundraiser we can do, we do, because we want to make sure that we’re building as many homes for people as possible,” says Fulton-Ratliff. “The proceeds go directly to Habitat for Humanity, so it goes straight into building those homes.”

Bartley adds: “Not only are we bringing awareness about the recycling issues, but we’re also bringing it to the fact Habitat [for Humanity] is trying to find those permanent solutions.”

Models are encouraged to put on their fiercest pose to fully display each sustainable design. Photo courtesy Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County

The Habitat Store

As director of the Habitat Store, Bartley constantly seeks ways to continue Habitat for Humanity’s overall mission. says Bartley. “All of our profits go back into housing and all of those proceeds end up backing, not only what we’re currently building, but being able to give families the opportunity to buy homes. The store is another income to keep the organization growing and growing.”

The Trashion Show is an important opportunity for Habitat for Humanity to gain more exposure and educate the community about its work — while also having a ball.

When & Where

This year’s Habitat for Humanity Trashion Show takes place at Fisherman’s Pavilion on Friday, June 7 at 6 p.m. All are welcome to attend, and buying tickets online ahead of time is encouraged. They are $25 for general admission, and $75 for VIP, which includes general admission, a food voucher, and a swag bag. If you would like to purchase a $750 VIP table for eight, your purchase includes general admission, a champagne basket and reserved seating for up to eight guests at a front row table with a free drink ticket, food voucher and a swag bag for each of the eight guests.

Find out more about this exciting fashion show with a twist and purchase tickets here!

Learn more about the history — and life-changing impact — of Habitat for Humanity here and please consider donating to our local chapter here, where your donations build hope, community, and a better future for Whatcom families in need of a safe place to call home.

Event Sponsors:

Guardian Northwest Title & Escrow
Kara’s Beauty Barn
Sea Witch Botanicals
Lautenbach Recycling
Flip Kids
Brie Mueller Real Estate
Shenandoah Myrick Eco Agent
Little Red Wagon
Ace Hardware Bellingham
A+ Cleanups
Labels Consignment
Kombucha Town
Port o Pixie Events
Otherlands Beer 
Tru-Tone
Rumors Cabaret

The Trashion Show features an upcycled furniture silent auction, local goodies raffles and fun games to enjoy throughout the night. Photo courtesy Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County
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