A Trashion Show Unlike Any Other

1MK Eco-Fashionista Fashion Contest

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Couture at 1 Mont Kiara’s Eco Fashionista Fashion Contest 

Kuala Lumpur, 18 March – Forget the MET Gala. There were no silky fabrics, no ornate embroidery, and definitely no feline furries cascading off the runway at 1 Mont Kiara’s recently concluded Eco-Fashionista Fashion Contest. Recycled plastics reigned supreme, and the many expressions of biodegradable trash bags were explored, draping the shoulders and exploding off the skirts of the young models who strutted along the stage. 

“Trashion Revolution” was the theme, so plastic cups were de rigueur this year. So were wings fashioned out of discarded styrofoam, and sceptres made from, well, everything else. While the young models took to the stage, front and centre, the real stars of the show were the designer mothers screaming in support of their children on the sidelines, all of whom were equally proud that their sleepless nights paid off as their designs were finally on full display, and that their daughters could manage a twirl in impossibly intricate skirts.

The audience was completely enraptured by the prismatic display of paper, plastic, and cardboard on the stage, while the judges had a difficult time deciding which of the many models was deserving of becoming champion. Sure, they were swimming in beautiful designs, but did they have the necessary poise, charm, and charisma?

Allysha Raihana secured her place as champion by becoming a dragon princess.

A very young and jubilant Allysha Raihana seemed to fit the bill. Not only was she one of the youngest participants to grace the stage, she assumed her role as a dragon princess, had multiple costume changes, and twirled the life out of her dragon ribbon, only stopping when her excited father told her “it’s enough” for the judges. Allysha was a natural winner, and she did as she walked away with RM300 worth of cash and prizes to the raucous applause of her newfound admirers that day. 

But one little girl’s success did not necessarily mean the defeat of the other contestants. First runner-up Nur Qisya Qaisara astounded the judges with the largest and heaviest costume, and she carried all that weight with a smile that never waned on her face, while second runner-up Iman Nuraisyah would have fit right in Carnaval do Brasil, brandishing more colours on her train that would put any peacock to shame. Even the consolation prize winners were deserving of high praise, and their victories that day were celebrated equally among the many happy families who had gathered at 1 Mont Kiara.

First runner-up Nur Qisya Qaisara (left) and second runner-up Iman Nuraisyah (right) 

both strutted in equally majestic costumes that stunned the judges.

The fashion show was the climax of the mall’s H.O.P.E. (“Helping Our Planet Everyday”) eco campaign, and the sheer creativity of its participants was matched only by the adjacent Recycled Art Contest, which featured a plethora of dioramas and miniatures constructed using recyclables. Each year, the mall would issue a call for art pieces made entirely from recycled materials, and the cream of the crop would then be displayed and judged at the mall’s atrium. A total of 50 submissions were displayed this year, and Oviarkssyini Kalaiselvan was the undisputed winner with their “Money Palace”, an artistic sculpture of a lofty castle that’s both pleasing and functional with its four turrets that double as a money bank.

Winners of the Recycled Art Contest (left) and the winning art piece, “My Money Palace” (right).

Visitors to the mall that weekend were also entreated to flower pot painting workshops, plant-a-tree stations, game booths, and a coffee ground collection area as part of the larger H.O.P.E campaign, and its popularity was most evident when a female attendee scrambled to house her new money plant in the flower pot she painted in the midst of a hair treatment from a neighbouring salon. Visitors could also donate aluminium tabs at the mall’s concierge, or swap their plastic bags for reusable woven ones when they see “Mr Plasticman”, a group of young individuals who would walk around the mall spreading the importance of reducing the usage of single-use plastic.

A workshop attendee who decided to paint a flower pot and nurture a new plant while waiting for her hair treatment to complete (left); “Mr Plasticman” making their rounds around the mall (right).

Though 1 Mont Kiara’s eco-campaign may have lasted just for a weekend (with the exception of the aluminium tab collection, which lasts until the end of the month), it is the mall’s sincere hope that all visitors who were a part of the event would walk away with a newfound appreciation for the all-too-easily dismissed “trash”. Even the lowliest things can have value, and just as the pretty dresses during the Fashion Contest have shown, all things can be made beautiful.