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What is Trashion?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 21, 2024
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Trashion is a word which is used to refer to objects and garments produced from discarded, unwanted, and leftover items. Trashion encompasses everything from home décor to garments, and public interest in trashion started exploding in the late 1990s, when being environmentally ethical while staying chic started to come into style. Trashion is considered to be a form of upcycling, which refers to repurposing things for new uses, rather than simply getting rid of unwanted objects.

This word is a portmanteau of “trash” and “fashion,” and it is meant to imply that things made from recycled objects don't need to be lacking in style. While anyone can browse a vintage or thrift store, someone interested in trashion might also delve into free boxes, piles of discards destined for the dump, and other more unconventional sources for potential artistic inspiration.

Trashion jewelry often uses discarded and waste metals, both from within the jewelry industry and outside of it, and artists may use things like bottle caps, discarded containers, and so forth to make their jewelry more visually interesting and to remind consumers of the jewelry's origins. Trashion clothing often involves custom sewing, integrating several sources of discarded textile materials in designs which can vary widely, from sleek and hip to more casual and laid-back.

Trashion design can also encompass a wide variety of home goods, from tables to vases. People believe that by re-using unwanted items, they are both benefiting the environment and the items themselves, by giving such items a new purpose in life. Trashion can also be an interesting exploration for artists, who push themselves to think about things in new ways, and a talented trashion designer can find something useful where others only see garbage, sometimes literally.

One of the great things about trashion is that it is accessible to anyone who is feeling creative and resourceful, unlike traditional fashion, which tends to be costly and elitist. Trashion is also unique; someone who wears a trashion gown to a function, for example, can be confident that no one else will be wearing the same outfit. The unique flavor of trashion is also its appeal, as each piece is intrinsically distinct and quirky.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a BeautyAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By cloudel — On Sep 23, 2011

In school, my friends and I were into the trashion fad. This is probably due in part to the fact that it allowed us to make our own clothing and accessories.

I remember making several hair bows, both for myself and my friends. Back then, it was stylish to wear bows clipped into your ponytail.

To make the bows, I used empty potato chip bags. I cut one side of the bag off. Then, I cut a strip from the other side that was long enough to tie around the middle of the first piece and give it its bow shape.

I think that if a child today showed up at school with a potato chip hair bow, everyone would still think it was cool. Even if the trend is no more, something that unique is just timelessly cool.

By Perdido — On Sep 22, 2011

My sister has always been good at sewing. She has quite the creative streak as well. I was very impressed by her trashion creation.

My mother was going to throw away a big burlap bag that had held potatoes. My sister salvaged it, because she wanted to make a skirt out of it.

She needed a softer material to use for the inner lining that would be in contact with her skin, so she went through a pile of old clothes that the family was going to give away. She found a silk blouse and decided it would be the perfect thing to use.

While the skirt was obviously once a burlap bag, she made enough alterations to it to make it chic. She cut the hemline with scalloped scissors, and she added some embroidered designs. She also made a drawstring waist using some old shoelaces.

By trashion123 — On Mar 09, 2009

Trashion design has reached new levels with umbrellas, back packs, shower curtains and stylish handbags.

Monsoon Vermont uses trash picked by Jakarta's scavenger community for all their goods.

The handbags are lined with Indonesian batuk and modern abstract satin fabrics.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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