By DEVIN WEEKS
COEUR d’ALENE — Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy senior Sequoia Wheelan doesn't take sass from anyone, but she will gladly take your trash and turn it into something fancy.
"I made Charter's very first runway!" the teen joyfully said in a phone interview Wednesday.
Wheelan organized Charter's first fashion show, which was also the first presentation of the school's fine arts department. For her senior research project, she was expected to write a lengthy research paper on her chosen subject — fashion — but realized she could do so much more by holding a fashion show that incorporated three of her passions: fashion, recycling, and supporting her school.
Thus, the Charter junk-to-funk Trashion Show was born.
"It was quite unlike anything that Charter had ever seen before," the young fashionista said.
Wheelan brought together about 20 of her peers and mentors to help design and model 14 sustainable fashion outfits made from items such as plastic newspaper bags, Pringles cans, car visors, paper towels and recycled silk flowers. Names of the upcycled ensembles included "Trash Bag Elegance," "Steampunk," "Yarning for Velvet" and "Peacock World."
"I didn't have a favorite outfit as I loved them all too much to ever choose," she said. "Each of the designers put in so much hard work and creativity and I am very grateful for them helping this dream of mine become a reality."
The show, held Feb. 22, featured fluorescent lit pillars and dancing models. It brought in more than $600, all of which Wheelan donated to support the fine arts at her school.
She said that very often, schools focus on math and science rather than marketing, business and event planning. The Trashion Show gave her the opportunity "to bring these elements into the academic sphere and give kids the opportunity to delve into their artistic sides."
"It really was a trashin’ good time!"