Junk2Funk turns trash into treasure

Ever heard of “upcycling”?

“Upcycling” refers to taking something ordinary, broken or junky and turning it into something beautiful, efficient or useful. The spirit of upcycling is embodied by Engineers Without Borders (EWB) annual Junk2Funk fashion show fundraiser, where one person’s trash becomes another person’s floor-length ball gown. (Or cocktail dress, or cute skirt, or fancy hat. You get the idea.)

This “recycled fashion show” features clothes constructed from materials that otherwise would have gone straight to the garbage can. Newspapers, plastic bottles, old balloons or cardboard — even shotgun shells are reportedly being incorporated into an outfit for this year’s show. With outfits ranging from elegant to wild, Junk2Funk showcases Bozeman at its most creative and fun.

This is the seventh year EWB has put on Junk2Funk, but don’t expect to see something old hat. “One of the cool things about Junk2Funk is that it’s always different, because we always have different models, different designers, different people planning the event,” Jeana Ratcliff, one of the co-coordinators of Junk2Funk, said. “There’s a different atmosphere each year.”

The designers and models are a mixture of MSU students and members of the Bozeman community. As the coordinators of the event emphasized, support from the community has been outstanding. “I had so many people emailing us and saying, ‘We’re so excited for this! We’ve been to past years and had so much fun — we can’t wait to be involved!’” co-coordinator Alatna Walsh said, “So community response has been really positive.”

Junk2Funk’s fun is in the name of a good cause. As EWB’s spring fundraiser, it helps further their mission to bring clean water and sanitation projects to the 61 primary schools in the Khwisero district of Kenya. Nearly all the money raised through events like Junk2Funk goes towards building freshwater wells and compost latrines for the schools.

“Almost all of our money goes towards our work in Kenya on the ground, and not towards club funds and stuff like that,” Ratcliff said.

In addition to the main fashion show, Junk2Funk will also feature a silent auction and the stylings of DJ Missy O’Malley. If you’re looking for an evening full of fun and entertainment (and want to spend your money someplace worthwhile), Junk2Funk is the place to be.

Junk2Funk is being held Friday, April 17 at the Emerson Cultural Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the event starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for students and children and $12 for adults.