Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Runaway Runway is this Friday night!

Below is an article appearing in today's Free Times! The photo is of Ashleigh BURKE (not Gunter!) who is wearing one of my artificial flower creations! This photo was taken informally in my studio.....just fitting Ashleigh in the garment. I'll have more photos after the event. I'm wearing my "leaf" dress. Ashleigh and Bonnie will be in the "flowers". Bonnie is walking the runway!

Runaway Runway
701 Whaley, Friday

“It may not sound like a lot, but that’s a long 50 or so feet,” Clay Owens admonishes a group of 48 models.

It’s a perfect spring Sunday and the women of all ages and sizes have gathered at 701 Whaley to practice their catwalks with a professional runway coach in preparation for Friday’s recycled fashion show, Runaway Runway. Owens, the show’s organizer, was trying his best to avoid any model mishaps on the big day when each of the models will be wearing an original creation made entirely out of used or post consumer products.

Ashley Gunter in a dress by Susan Lenz made from discarded fake cemetery flowers.

These trash-ionistas have used every item imaginable over the years to build their garments. Ashley Gunter chose two items that she had been hoarding around the house — beer bottle caps and old copies of Free Times — to make a dress.

“My husband and I always grab a copy every week, so they begin to stack up,” Gunter says. “And for some reason, I saved all those caps from cookouts and girls’ nights.”

The top of her dress is formed from scraps of a garnet turtleneck and studded with caps emblazoned with the logos of Michelob Ultra, Corona, Bud Light and Fat Tire. Gunter cut two editions of Free Times into thirds and wove them into a skirt — if you look closely, you can read bits of 8 Days a Week or Rant & Rave.

Tom Chinn has been involved with Runaway Runway for years, but he had yet to design an outfit until this year when he decided to make up for lost time.
“I made one dress for my sister,” Chinn says. “But then I had so many more ideas I ended up with four dresses.”

After years of working in the furniture industry, Chinn had a stockpile of black and gray floral paper that lamp companies use to pad the lamps. Through a system of twisting and braiding, he ended up with several designs — long, short and bubbly, fitted and one-shoulder. To add a touch of whimsy — and a bit of naughty — he dug through his piles of leather samples and crafted little leather floggers or what he calls “love taps” for the women to brandish as they walk the runway.

The Columbia Design League is in its third year of putting on the fundraiser and has several presentation upgrades in the works.

“This year, we are planning on having a video projection component,” said Design League’s Gene Bell. “We haven’t quite worked out all the details, but we want it to look as much like a real fashion show as possible.”

Also new is a text-to-vote feature, which will replace the Audience Choice from last year. Judges will choose the top three designs, which will then be projected onto a screen. Audience members can then text in their votes and watch as the numbers are tallied live.

“It really is a great interactive feature and a way to keep the audience engaged,” Bell says. The board also decided to charge a $10 entry fee to fund further upgrades in coming years.

Once again, The Lady Chablis of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil fame will provide the entertainment and DJ Peter Ray will spin the prancing tunes. Nickelodeon Theatre director Larry Hembree and Columbia Design League board member Betsy Newman will emcee the event.

Tickets for Runaway Runway are $10 for standing and $20 for limited reserved seating. They are available at the door and online at or by calling 803-343-2214. Let us know what you think: Email or leave us a comment below.


Elizabeth said...

This is going to be an amazing show!! Ashleigh looks wonderful in the dress and I know that it will look even better without the jeans!!! Take lots of pictures!! I would so love to be there in person but that is not going to happen till we can beam ourselves up!!!! have a great Show!!!!!!
your dresses would win my vote for best of show, without even seeing the others- but then I am an organic gardener and I lvoe all of your work so you might say taht I am a BIT biaseD!!!!!

Bill Evertson said...

Can't wait to see your photos from the show. Great way to get creative with recycling :-)

Wanda said...

She sure is a pretty model and the dress looks great! I can't wait to see the pictures from the show!

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