One man’s trash is fashion’s treasure in the hands of Sarah Arriola. Sarah, a junior at McIntosh High, has been chosen as a world finalist in the international recycled fashion competition Junk Kouture.
Sarah’s winning dress is made of various recycled materials, and the majority is build around plastic bottles, soda cans, soda tabs, plastic bags, paper, and cardboard.
“I’ve always had a passion for art and fashion, so, when I knew about the competition, I knew I wanted to participate and give it a shot!” said Sarah.
The idea behind her design was celebrating the cultures she has grown up around.
“The inspiration behind the design was a carnival where my family is from called Carnaval de Montevideo, which worked perfectly because many of the costumes made for the carnival use recycled materials, as well,” she said. “I also included parts of my ‘culture’ from living in Georgia, which is where the whole Coca-Cola products came into play.”
McIntosh teacher Carisa Green shared the competition with Sarah, and she was thrilled to see her run with it.
“I love how she used her heritage to convey her artistic vision,” said Green. “She is a wonderful student and artist. Sarah is one of those students that never simply meets the criteria given to her, she always manages to exceed my expectations and put her own unique signature on anything she touches.”
Sarah aims to make a career of it, including studying fashion design in New York City.
“It’s a field where I see myself applying my art skills and passion, so it’s been the plan for a while,” Sarah said. “It’s part of the reason I did this competition because I wanted to dive into the fashion world.”
As a world finalist, Sarah and her collaborator Chloe Davis won a golden ticket and will fly to Abu Dhabi to compete in January. Chloe helped gather the materials for the dress, and they bounced ideas off each other during the process. Chloe will also be doing Sarah’s makeup for the world finals.
Founded in Ireland in 2010, the Junk Kouture competition has recruited 100,000 participants to date, produced 15,000 distinctive designs, saved 40,000kg of waste from landfill, and amazed packed crowds at 60 sold-out arena shows.