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'Keep Odessa Beautiful' by taking trash off the ground and onto the runway

The 'Permian Basin Recycle Fashion Show' and 'Repurpose Challenge' are different ways to limit litter and turn trash into something beautiful.

ODESSA, Texas — "One man’s trash is another man’s treasure." It’s a phrase said by many, but not utilized by most, based on all the trash left on the ground in the Midland-Odessa area.

"So if you see trash on the floor, it's kind of like would you really leave that mess at your house?," said University of Texas Permian Basin art student Mariana Astete.

It is a gesture that can be a simple addition to your daily routine.

"You know, it has to do with just taking a moment to close a dumpster lid or you know, pick up trash while you're walking in the morning," said UTPB art Professor Christopher Stanley.

Way too often do we see trash on the ground. Whether it be a chip bag or an empty soda can, trash is trash, and it should be in the dumpster, or if you ask Keep Odessa Beautiful, the runway. 

Register today to participate in our Sixth Annual Recycle Fashion Show. Prizes for adult category have been boosted for...

Posted by Keep Odessa Beautiful on Monday, June 21, 2021

That’s right, there’s a Permian Basin fashion show, where the clothes are made entirely of objects that are, let’s just say, not your everyday silk and polyester.

"It's the idea that they're taking something that somebody's cast off," Stanley said. "Something that literally somebody had thrown away, they're repurposing it, cleaning it and then prepping it and then it's actually something that you could wear."

In this day and age, anything can be fashion.

"So there's three groups with different age levels that you can enter in and then you have to create something out of like recycled stuff," said UTPB art student Madison Guerrero. "It could be anything and you just make either accessories or a dress, pants, whatever. But basically just to represent how much waste we have, but also turning it into something beautiful."

There has been some impressive work come out of the fashion show, such as a dress made of sticky notes, grocery bags and trash bags, and just think, these items could have been on the ground mere months ago.

"So last year, I created a bubble wrap dress, and this dress was made so sort of bubble wrap," Astete said. "In Chile, bubble wrap is like, you know, gold. You can use it basically for wrapping up your own stuff. But even people make purses out of that. It's a country that has so much in need that you can basically use and reuse everything like that."

"I would think my dress is pretty impressive," Guerrero said about her dress made of plastic wrap. "Just because it was kind of challenging at first trying to see how to bind plastic to plastic without melting it with like hot glue and stuff like that."

All of this to make a statement for our community.

"It's an attempt, I think, to make people proud of where they live," Stanley said.

And that's not all. Keep Odessa Beautiful also does a Repurpose Challenge. From now until November, you can turn your trash into art.

Please submit your photos on or before November 30th by scanning the QR Code to upload them, or by posting them in the...

Posted by Keep Odessa Beautiful on Monday, October 3, 2022

"So the repurpose challenge means that anything that you might have, it's bottle cups or soda cans, any kind of thing that you have, you can actually make it into something workable, usable," Astete explained.

And the events may get you prizes (visa gift cards and tickets to Cinergy aren't bad), but they can also get you incredible opportunities.

"So last year this gentleman from Project Runway came (Daniel Esquivel)," Astete said. "And you know you also get some exposure, and if you're wanting to be a part of that industry you know, Odessa is a place to kind of also get noticed. The Permian Basin, which you really don't think people come here but we get treats like that, so it would be awesome to be able to just venture out, even if it's not your area, you can always try to do something and it might be the next Picasso."

These events may seem odd at first, trash is supposed to be in garbage cans for a reason, but this is important work to raise awareness on waste reduction by repurposing, which is crucial for us to create healthy habits. And it’s not difficult to start.

"This is not one of those things where you kind of have to go cut down a tree to try," Stanley said. "This is something that's readily accessible. Most people could affect an object just with things they find in their own home that they could repurpose and recycle."

The events also provide an opportunity to connect with others.

"Anyone should be able to get into this because it's not only fun, but you can also bond with people," Astete said. "So when I was making my things, my mom was asking me so are you gonna be able to wear this and I was like, yeah."

And you never really know if you like something until you give it a shot.

"You don't know if you're great or not because you've never tried it," Stanley said. "And that's the thing about the arts is you never know how good you really are until you actually immerse yourself in it."

Odessa is a beautiful place, and it’s our job to keep it that way. Keeping it beautiful requires work, it may not be easy all the time, but with everyone doing their part, maybe Keeping Odessa Beautiful won’t be as difficult as we might think.

Keep Odessa Beautiful is having their 7th annual Permian Basin Fashion Show on Oct 21st at 6 p.m., and tickets are on sale now.

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