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On Nov. 22, Charleston Town Center and the Recycling Coalition of West Virginia held the 12th annual Re-Fashion Show. People of all ages were eligible to participate to win mall gift certificates. The event was held in honor of America Recycles Day, which was Nov. 15.

“This event isn’t really about recycling as [much as] it is encouraging people to buy and use recycled products,” said Carol Throckmorton, chief of recycling market development and planing for the West Virginia Solid Waste Management Board.

Some of the items contestants recycled to design their outfits this year included newspaper, maps, old jeans, records and playing cards.

The event has grown considerably since it first began, Throckmorton said.

“The first year we did this we were at the Kanawha Mall with 12 participants, and now we’re at the Charleston Town Center and have as many as 58 people who participate,” she said.

Among this year’s participants was South Charleston sophomore Mary McCallister, who made her outfit from recycled newspaper layered underneath tissue paper with a little duct tape at the waist and the top. She said the idea for the dress came to her by pure imagination, and she spent six-and-a-half hours over the course of three days making it.

Taylor Shafer, from Girl Scout troop #4988 in Roane County, participated with an outfit made out of recycled grocery bags. She and her grandmother worked on it for three years.

“We probably spent over 60 hours on it,” Shafer estimated.

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They wove rolled-up green grocery bags into a dress, hat and purse with white grocery bags woven in as details. She also had a belt made out of soda can tabs.

Brooke High School art teacher Sara Roark is enthusiastic about the competition every year and gets many students to compete, like Sophia Perrone this year. Perrone used old maps to create a skirt and worn jeans to create a top.

“After my teacher talked about it during my art class, I thought it would be a great opportunity to get crafty,” she said.

Sisters Pam Fisher and Virginia Stump decided to compete along with Stump’s teenage daughter, Lori. Fisher made her dress out of Keurig coffee cups, which she spent months collecting from her coworkers because she doesn’t drink coffee. Stump made her outfit from men’s ties, and her daughter made hers out of Coke cans and tabs.

Lillian Armstrong, a sixth grader at Taylor County Middle School, competed for the fourth time. She made her outfit from old rock ‘n’ roll items, such as cassette tape ribbons, CDs and vinyl records.

“I tried to cover everything from records to CDs — how you listen to it [rock ‘n’ roll],” she said.

Prizes were given in several categories. In the age groups, Mackenzie Burns was first place for ages 14 and Over, Sophia Perrone was second and Amanda Mayhew was third. In the 13 and Under age group, Sailor Lucas won first, Taylor Shafer won second and Lillian Armstrong won third. In special categories, Melissa Ashman won the Charleston Town Center Mall Shopping Theme, Bri’Anna Bass won the Charleston Newspaper Challenge and Lori Stump won the Coca-Cola Challenge.

For more on the event, visit

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