A local re-use center brings together fashion models and environmental activists for an event kicking off Earth Day in Long Island City. NY1's Clodagh McGowan filed the following report.
As the saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure.
In the case of an event in Queens on Friday, recyclables transformed into couture.
"The fashion industry is one of the dirtiest industries in the world. But, it's also one of the biggest and one of the most influential. So, I think if we can make a difference, we really can lead through this problem," said Cameron Russell, a model and environmental activist.
Russell led the "Earth Day in Fashion" meet up at the Materials for the Arts headquarters in Long Island City on Earth Day. The warehouse is stocked with donated supplies and materials, all to be reused in creative ways. Participants shared their green inspirations on social media to mark Earth Day.
"I say that every day is Earth Day at Materials for the Arts because our whole mission is to keep things out of the landfill and to make sure that we educate people on reuse and, of course, creative reuse," said Harriet Taub, the executive director of Materials for the Arts.
Materials for the Arts is operated by the city's Department of Cultural Affairs with additional support from the Departments of Sanitation and Education.
Last year, MFTA diverted 1.5 million pounds of materials from the garbage to their shelves.
"So even things like desks and office furniture, that's a lot of what comes through here. When it's thrown out, they're redecorating the office. That's important stuff not to get into the landfill," said Tom Finkelpearl, the commissioner of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs.
About 25 percent of all of Materials for the Arts donations come from the fashion industry. The donations are prized by the artists and students that reuse the materials to create art.
"I feel like I'm a green artist in a way. I like to recycle things and reuse trash as art. And I feel like I'm giving what's discarded materials a Cinderella moment," said Juan Hinojosa, an artist who lives in Sunnyside.
As for these models and social media mavens, they hope Earth Day's green living message will live on long after midnight.
For more information, head to mfta.org.