My Journey Into Trash Fashion

I started Teens Go Green in 2008 to promote minimal waste after passing by one of the highest points in South Florida, known as “Mount Trashmore.”
Over the years, I’ve done volunteer service events, speaking engagements, and fundraisers. But I’ve been most known for hosting trash fashion shows. I made my first skirt out of newspaper, an old study guide, and a catalog for a pageant opening number.
Environmental groups like Go Green Daytona and Central Florida Earth Day were interested in having my outfits at their events as a special showcase. I realized that this trash fashion brought in larger audiences, and even people who were not initially interested in sustainability. We would collect garbage materials from our home, office, parties, and make them into fashion pieces for volunteers to model. Sometimes after the show, we would have kids create their own outfits and win our recycled pageant trophies like a mini Project Runway.
Our trash fashions have been part of New York Fashion Week 2.0 and featured in fashion magazines like Avessa. At Miss Florida USA 2020, I decided to wear an evening gown I made out of garbage from my home office, friends and family remote my passion for minimal waste. It’s wearing these outfits that draw people’s attention and brings minimal waste to the forefront of people’s minds. The video became viral on TikTok, which then lead my family and I to be on the new TLC reality series, “So Freakin Cheap.”
Resource depletion and excessive waste production needs to be in the forefront of people’s minds. We hide trash in black plastic bags, metal bins, and even tall hills. If every person lived like an average American, we would need 5 Earths of resources to support it. Making minimal waste engaging can encourage more people to track their waste inventory and find ways to reduce it.

This year at Miss Florida USA, I made my city costume, evening gown, and opening dance number outfit out of my trash inventory. This brought more attention to minimal waste and in my community of Miami Beach, the importance of Saving Biscayne Bay.

TLC Elizabeth Tran So Freakin Cheap Hazmat Suit Gown

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