Posts Tagged ‘Nancy Judd’


Santa Fe designer Nancy Judd and her recycled “trashion” (trash fashion) are headed to Washington, DC, to Saturday’s Green Inaugural Ball honoring President-elect Barack Obama. Judd, a former Recycling Coordinator at the City Different’s Solid Waste Department and current owner of Recycle Runway, has expanded her gorgeous line of “Dumpster coutre” to include pieces inspired by Obama campaign throwaways.

The Wall Street Journal featured Judd on the front page of its January 13th issue, for having caught the eye of organizers of the $500-a-ticket all-organic pre-Inaugural celebration, which is expected to draw 1,000 environmentalists. Models will display Judd’s garments on platforms in the main lobby area.

Showing her stuff in the nation’s capital is a big step for a woman who used to put on a furry blue costume and sweat her way through parades as Carlos Coyote, Santa Fe’s recycling mascot.”

Using campaign paraphernalia she rescued from a dumpster outside an Obama campaign office, Judd has developed an elegant line of Obama-wear, so far consisting of these three pieces (photos were provided by Judd and are used with her permission):

Obamanos Coat

This man’s coat is made from Obama campaign paper door hangers that have been lacquered and stitched together. (Look closely and you can see lots of little smiling Obamas and Bidens.) It took Judd 200 hours to cut, paste, and sew the coat.

Judd tailored the coat to Obama’s measurements, which she found online. She is hoping he will stop by the event and try on the coat. She even managed to hinge the sleeves to give him a measure of mobility: “He can’t wave, but he can shake a hand.”

Maybe the mental image of that dress made from glass might make people think twice before they throw out a bottle next time.

~Jenna Mack, co-producer of the Green Inaugural Ball (from WSJ)

Obama Dress, Santa Fe designer Nancy Judd modeling a dress she made out of plastic Obama yard signs, photo © 2009 by Nancy Judd, Recycle Runway
Obama Cocktail Dress

Judd is shown here modeling an old-new take on the ubiquitious “little black dress,” this one made from plastic yard signs. She has no training in fashion, nor does she know how to sketch. She gets ideas from old paper dolls.

Her pieces are conceived as wearable sculpture and she doesn’t sell any of them. They are educational tools to help illustrate the problems facing our environment and to raise awareness.

You can’t be didactic or shaming or all gloom-and-doom…so you sneak in the back door.

~Judd, on how to talk to others about sustainability (from WSJ)


Voter Swing Coat

This stylish suit is woven from strips of voter-registration posters.

For Judd, making dazzling garments to hit home a serious message about the earth is a labor of love. For the past two years, she has been living off of savings and a small business loan. She won’t be making money from the Green Inaugural Ball, either, although she is selling tote bags made from recycled campaign posters to cover trip expenses.

The children were amazed to see that something so beautiful could be created out of something we would normally throw away.

~Pat Bluett, assistant director of a Boys & Girls Club (from WSJ)

I’m relieved to know that some of the printed materials—door hangers and brochures that so many volunteers handed out during the campaign—have been “re-purposed” into such gorgeous pieces. (How she managed to cut the plastic yards signs, I can’t figure out. Those things are indestructuable—don’t ask me how I know.)

More than that, I am proud of this talented New Mexico designer for making it to Washington, DC and to an audience of prominent and influential environmental leaders. She’s created a unique and fabulous way to get across a vital message to people young and old—and people in power ought to see her work.

Speaking of people in power, would you say hello to Obama for me, Nancy? Just give him a big hug on my behalf as you’re helping him try on the Obamanos Coat. Thanks.

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I love the Albuquerque International Sunport. I love that it’s small and easy to navigate. I love the ageless art deco wood-and-leather chairs, comfy to sit in while waiting to board a flight. Mostly I love what the airport folks dream up to entertain weary travelers passing in and out of the airport’s doors.

Case in point — Recycle Runway: The Airport Project.

Recycle Runway is an exhibit of elegant dresses, coats, shoes, hats, and other accessories — all made of trash. Pages from magazines folded into intricate, colorful fans and sewn onto a flamenco dress. An entire cowgirl getup, complete with cowgirl hat, made from the woven sheets of phone books. The most colorful outfit is a dress covered in plastic “buttons” cut out of laundry detergent bottles.

This exhibit is delightful. More than that, it is hopeful.

There is something moving about seeing the beauty that can come from empty aluminum cans, reams of computer paper, ubiquitous plastic bags, crushed glass, even rusty nails. No woman is ever going to wear crushed glass all over herself (Help! Your hug just shredded my stomach!), yet these articles of clothing bring home the message that we MUST recycle if we are to save our planet. That recycling is more than a duty. Recycling is beauty.

Nancy Judd started Recycle Runway seven years ago, after working as the Recycling Coordinator for the City of Santa Fe and then as Executive Director of the New Mexico Recycling Coalition. The exhibit has already been featured in several airports this past fall. It’s unclear where it will go next, but one thing is for sure. It adds to a growing movement of artists taking on environmental issues.

My favorite pieces are a Carmen Miranda-style headdress, blouse, and skirt made of plastic Target bags, and a coat made of cassette innards.

Recycle Runway will be in the Albuquerque International Sunport through January 16, 2008. If you miss it, you can write to an address on the website to ask whether it will be showing up at an airport in your part of the country. And if you’re really excited by this kind of art, mark your calendars for the tenth annual Recycle Santa Fe Festival in November 2008.

Good job, little airport of mine! So what that you’re not truly international? You give free internet access, and more important, ya got culture!

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