This year, the Trash Makeover Challenge has greater stakes and even bolder designs than ever.

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Trash Makeover Challenge, 2019

By Cy White, Photos courtesy of Trash Makeover Challenge

For over the past decade, the Texas Campaign for the Environment’s Trash Makeover Challenge has transformed the fashion industry. Aiming to eradicate fast fashion and waste from the industry for good, the TMC has truly set a standard for excellence, innovation creativity. Now in its 12th year, the fashion show has put itself in line to be a true fashion industry paragon. Fashion show Producer Ceci Guevara and TCE Board Chair Alberta Phillips answer some questions ahead of this year’s show.

Can you briefly introduce yourselves to our readers?

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Ceci Guevara

I am Ceci (“se see”) Guevara, the fashion show producer for TCE’s Trash Makeover Challenge.

I’d like people to take away from the show that upcycling is cool, easy, and what’s best for our planet.

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Alberta Phillips

I’m Alberta Phillips, an independent journalist and former editorial writer for the Austin American-Statesman. I currently serve as board chair for the Texas Campaign for the Environment and in that role, I chair our annual, and fabulous, Trash Makeover Challenge.

TCE is a nonprofit that is passionate about protecting our environment and cleaning up pollution. We can do this, but only with the help of everyday people who help support us with their volunteerism, dollars or advocacy. And I want to thank the many sponsors, large and small, who continue to believe in and support our work. Lastly, if you are looking for some fun this weekend, come out and celebrate with us on Saturday in person or online.

Ceci, in your December 2020 interview with us, you mentioned wanting the challenge to get even bigger. What have you all done this year that makes it even more amazing than previous years?

CG: This year, we increased the cash prize from $1,600 to $3,000 and increased the number of winners who will also get a cash prize! Second place wins $1,000; third place wins $500 and People’s Choice wins $500. We also did away with the theme this year, giving designers free rein on their design.

Have you fully integrated the hybrid fashion show model? And if so, what new innovations have you added/are you looking forward to adding for TMC?

CG: This is our first hybrid fashion show with both virtual and live design teams participating from around the country. This year guests at home and at the TDS Event Pavilion alike will be able to vote for People’s Choice Award.

AP: I do think we’ve integrated the hybrid model, and we’re excited about how it turns out! If it is a quality experience for in-person and those who participate from wherever they are in Texas or across the planet, we’ll do it again!

Since being a part of the TMC, what has been the most rewarding experience? The most challenging experience?

CG: The most rewarding experience for me is the show itself. I enjoy the fashion and am always blown away by both the garment itself and the designer’s level of creativity. The most challenging experience has been taking it from a live event to 100% virtual event in 2019. We went through growing pains that prepared us for the first hybrid Trash Makeover.

AP: Without a doubt the most rewarding is working on initiatives to mitigate pollution of our air, water and natural resources in all Texas communities, particularly communities of color that are disproportionately affected by climate change and pollution. On that front, we have big wins! Our biggest challenge is working in a political climate that doesn’t prioritize or embrace initiatives aimed at protecting our water, air and collective health.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

CG: I am really looking forward to being back in-person and connecting with the fashion teams, judges and the community!

AP: Continuing to build an organization that looks like the communities we serve.

As this is TMC’s 12th year, where do you want to see it go from here?

CG: I would love to take Trash Makeover international and have teams from around the world participate.

AP: I would like to see it continue to grow and have a larger footprint in Corpus Christi and South Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Port Arthur areas, and certainly in Odessa and West Texas. With more people on the ground, partnering with people who live in those communities, we can make an even bigger difference.


The 2022 Trash Makeover Challenge takes place on Saturday, Sept. 24 at South Austin’s TDS Event Pavilion & Wildlife Ranch. You still have time to purchase a ticket to this amazing event. Visit the Trash Makeover Challenge website to find out more and get your ticket.

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