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Where's a panda when you need one? 

Cal Poly models sprint like cheetahs!

click to enlarge RUN, FOREST, RUN! :  Cal Poly models sprint along the runway during a sustainable fashion show. - PHOTO BY GLEN STARKEY
  • PHOTO BY GLEN STARKEY
  • RUN, FOREST, RUN! : Cal Poly models sprint along the runway during a sustainable fashion show.

It’s Friday, May 13, and I’ve spilt salt, broken a mirror, walked under a ladder, and my black cat Stella walked right in front of me, but I feel pretty lucky anyway because I’m at Creeky Tiki listening to Natalie Haskins’ high lonesome voice trailing inside from the back patio as I await the start of ECO Show, “a night of sustainable fashion for men and women,” which benefits ECOSLO.

The brainchild of Cal Poly student Melissa Soroushian, the event is her senior project and showcases a number of local businesses and fashion designers.

As I’m waiting for models to strut down the runway, I can’t help but think about what sustainable fashion means. Gunnysacks and trash bags accessorized just so? Free range hemp fibers? Bamboo? Woven reeds? Or is it used clothing? There seems to be an endless supply of castoff clothing at local thrift shops.

click to enlarge SING IT, SISTER! :  Natalie Haskins put her high lonesome voice through a workout last Friday at ECO Show, a sustainable fashion show at Creeky Tiki. - PHOTO BY GLEN STARKEY
  • PHOTO BY GLEN STARKEY
  • SING IT, SISTER! : Natalie Haskins put her high lonesome voice through a workout last Friday at ECO Show, a sustainable fashion show at Creeky Tiki.

“Maybe it’s like used tires as soles on sandals,” offers my girlfriend Anna.

Then we see our friend Heather Tissue Stevenson, a local interior designer who recently purchased a pair of earrings at the From War to Peace merchant table.

“They’re made from recycled copper from disarmed nuclear missile systems,” she says, dangling the burnished copper circles in front of our faces. She’s positively glowing from her new purchase (pun sadly intended).

According to info Melissa Soroushian sent me, “From War to Peace founders Paul and Sandee Ogren shared a dream of a world without war. They dreamt of a world where bombs are turned into beauty, hate into love, and war into peace. From War to Peace is their attempt to help make that dream a reality.”

Hmm. Got any black T-shirts made of decommissioned AK-47s?

Then Natalie finishes singing and I hear oohs and ahhs on the patio, so I wander out there and watch a fire dancer whipping pots of burning oil attached to chains around her head and body. Burning oil?!? I guess a little global warming is worth it for a spectacle like this.

click to enlarge THE WOMAN WITH THE PLAN :  Cal Poly student Melissa Soroushian, here modeling an ECOSLO T-shirt, put on the fashion show for her senior project, with proceeds benefiting ECOSLO. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MELISSA SOROUSHIAN
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF MELISSA SOROUSHIAN
  • THE WOMAN WITH THE PLAN : Cal Poly student Melissa Soroushian, here modeling an ECOSLO T-shirt, put on the fashion show for her senior project, with proceeds benefiting ECOSLO.

Finally I hear the announcer cueing up the models, so I return to my seat and prepare my camera. I’m right in front of this riser, where I assume models will stop, turn, and vamp for me.

They all appear to be Cal Poly kids—extremely embarrassed Cal Poly kids—who look a lot like deer in headlights as they walk onto the runway, avoid eye contact, and scurry as fast as possible through the crowd. Occasionally, some of their friends will hoot and holler their names, making the models run even faster!

The announcer is explaining the fashions, stuff like “spread a message, not a commercial, with unbranded, organic, U.S.-made, San Luis Obispo-designed, rebellious AnarchTee shirts, skirts, bags, and youth wear,” and “AnarchTee uses cutting edge, PVC- and Phthalate-free ink.”

More scared models sprint through the crowd as the announcer mentions Hybrid Couture and its “clothing made of 100 percent organic cotton, bamboo, or upcycled articles of clothing,” and Hemp Shak’s products made of “nature’s longest, most durable fiber that doesn’t require toxic fertilizers or pesticides to grow.”

click to enlarge DANGER IS HER MIDDLE NAME:  A fire dancer spins pots of burning oil to the oohs and ahhs of the crowd. - PHOTO BY GLEN STARKEY
  • PHOTO BY GLEN STARKEY
  • DANGER IS HER MIDDLE NAME: A fire dancer spins pots of burning oil to the oohs and ahhs of the crowd.

I also see clothes made from bamboo from Bambu Batu, learning that bamboo “grows faster than any plant on earth, produces 30 percent more oxygen than an equal area of trees, renews itself and requires no chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and improves soil and controls erosion.”

Also, best of all, no pandas are harmed!

As for the models … well, some of these kids seem to be permanently psychologically damaged by this experience, and they’re all moving so fast I can barely get a shot of them.

At least panda are slow moving. Sheesh! 

Glen Starkey takes a beating and keeps on bleating. Keep up with him via twitter at twitter.com/glenstarkey, friend him at Myspace.com/glenstarkey, or contact him at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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