Salvage mission

The Brooklyn Paper

Out of the garbage can and onto the runway. Freegans, a group that rejects consumerism and finds its nourishment by harvesting discarded (but clean) food out of Dumpsters, have taken their movement to a new level, by staging a fashion show on Jan. 25 in Bushwick.

Like their food, the Freegans’ fashion designs were also saved from the dustbin of history — with fabulous results.

“It forces you to be ostentatious, because you can’t pick and choose,” said Johnny Bubonic, who showed off a “Chinese Fashion Police” getup comprised of a cop’s hat, big sunglasses and a souvenir Asian ceremonial shirt.

Perhaps surprisingly, cleanliness is not the top priority when foraging for new threads.

“It’s first about the price. If it’s free, then it’s in my price range,” said Bubonic. “Then, if it fits me.”

He was one of a dozen or so models with a nom de catwalk, like Aphrodirty and Teacher Creature, in the Thames Street loft.

Their ensembles might have been thrown in the trash, but that doesn’t mean they were just thrown together.

“Oh God, it took a long time. It took years to find everything and hours to put them together,” harped “Jess.”

The attire ran the gamut, from a vintage 1970s “Shaft”-like outfit to a shiny, multi-piece toga — for the ladies — to a bikini with a peacock tail — for cross-dressing men.

As they paraded and strutted, the emcee cheered them on over the techno music, saying, “You’re all gorgeous and trashy.”

The dozens of people in the audience were entertained by the display, but not overly enthusiastic about the raffle for the clothes that followed.

One man steadfastly refused to buy a raffle ticket, saying, “I don’t want to risk owning one of the costumes!”

It wasn’t all just fun and games, though. One of the hosts angrily played the waste card.

“Paying for fashion means profits for corporations and the destruction of Southeast Asia,” said Quinn Hechikopf, one of the organizers. “People throw out clothes to make way for new clothing they don’t need every year.”

The nonconformist message was a hard sell to one attendee.

“In New York, it would be hard — and a little demoralizing — to rummage through garbage all the time,” said Adrian Truini.

He may not have been a kindred Freegan, but he appreciated the atmosphere.

“I came here for the same reason I’d go to a market out in the country,” said Truini. “It’s completely off-track and artistic and has nothing to do with corporations.”

Freegan “Make Fun Workshops,” demonstrating how to reuse and repair textiles, take place every first Tuesday of the month at 8 pm at House of Yes (19-49 Troutman St. between Flushing and Metropolitan avenues in Bushwick). For more information, call (585) 217-7209.

Freegan textile recycling, sponsored by Goodwill, takes place every Saturday, from 8 am to 4 pm at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket (northwest entrance to Prospect Park).

For more information about Freegan events, visit or call (347) 724-6954.

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