One does not normally associate engineers with high fashion, but such was the case as sassy young UKZN engineering students sashayed down the catwalk during a unique fashion show as part of a cocktail evening themed ‘Waste to Art’, held at the KZNSA Art Gallery this week.
They were dressed in the most stylish and eco-friendly designs created out of recycled materials by final-year Durban University of Technology (DUT) fashion design colleagues.
To the rustle of plastic bags and the swish of hessian, the enthusiastic young models demonstrated just how stylish “trash” can be.
‘Waste to Art as a Means of Social Upliftment’ is the brainchild of Professor Cristina Trois, newly appointed South African Research Chair (SARChI) in Waste and Climate Change at UKZN.
Trois is passionate about the necessity of innovative waste management to mitigate against climate change and ensure a sustainable future for the planet. “The event provided the opportunity to showcase local design talent and creative ideas to turn waste into a means of income generation,” said Trois, “as well as providing a networking platform for the many role players in the waste and climate change, and local and foreign government sectors.”
Other highlights of the evening included, a display of fashionable gowns made out of recycled materials by Grade 10 Maris Stella pupils who were inspired by the Vodacom Durban July 2018 theme “It is Time”; Angela Shaw of the KZNSA Art Gallery elaborating on the waste-inspired artwork made by local designers on show in the gallery; and Robin Opperman of the trendsetting Umcebo design house presenting a stunning mural of black manta rays made from plastic, bottles and wire.
‘Waste to Art’ was run in conjunction with the international training seminar and summer school on ‘Managing Waste as a Resource’, which is running from 26-30 November at UKZN under the aegis of the UKZN SARChI Chair in Waste and Climate Change, UKZN Extended Learning, the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) and the International Waste Working Group (IWWG).
Key focus areas of the summer school include waste as a problem and its impact on climate change, the environment and society; waste as a resource; waste characterisation techniques; integrated waste management systems and the management of industrial and organic waste; waste management models as a decision making tool for municipalities; waste management in developing countries; and lessons learnt from waste management projects.
The summer school in waste and climate change is aimed at practitioners, waste managers and regulators, professionals, companies in the waste sector as well as postgraduate students at tertiary education institutions.