A Gala of Garments and Garbage

Fashion and sustainability came together for a night of creativity ​​hosted by FFP and Environmental Club



Over 60 people attended the Garbage Gala dressed in cardboard, newspapers and plastic bags, among other materials.


Fashion for Philanthropy (FFP) and the Environmental Club at Lincoln Center collaborated on Friday, Dec. 2, to put on the renowned Garbage Gala. First held in 2019, the annual gala focused on sustainability, with everyone encouraged to show up in outfits made out of recycled garbage. 

The event was open to everyone and anyone who stumbled upon it. Over 60 people attended the creative event. The gala was held in the glass atrium for all to see and was decorated with silver balloons and snowflakes made out of newspaper. Along with the decorations, there were strobe lights of many colors to set the tone for the night that was about to begin. 

While I’m walking into the garbage soiree, I am greeted with a giant red carpet that leads to a backdrop meant for students to take pictures, to remember this sustainable event. Throughout the night the backdrop would remain a popular installation. 

As the night went on, the gala grew, and many took to the dance floor.

Ernie Perez, Fordham College at Lincoln Center ’24 and treasurer of FFP, said that prior to the event there was a lot of stress and that the e-board put in a lot of work cutting out the snowflakes. He emphasized that the work paid off as they saw students dancing, eating food and having fun.

“The moment we switched the light switch on and saw all the snowflakes, we knew the work we put in was worth it,” Perez said. 

Once the event began, the president of FFP, Meilin Morefield, Gabelli School of Business Lincoln Center (GSBLC) ’24, walked in with her own take on garbage couture. Her outfit consisted of a plain garbage bag and a colorful recycled belt that made the outfit entirely sustainable. She shined a joyous smile as she saw the glass atrium covered in balloons and snowflakes. She instantly joined the dance floor. 

Annie O'Malley
Annie O’Malley, GSBLC ’24 and vice president of FFP, created her tube top made from her mother’s old receipts. (ALICE MORENO)

“We wanted to give students a chance to show off their own creativity and making their own outfit, while also promoting sustainability in a fun way,” Morefield said.

Perez emphasized the important role that Morefield played in the creation of the event, saying that she is a “great leader and without her, none of it would have been possible.”

I walked around the glass atrium that was completely covered with snowflakes and witnessed a tube top covered in receipts. This caught the eyes of many guests because of the creativity behind it. The tube top in question was created and worn by Annie O’Malley, GSBLC ’24, the vice president of FFP. 

garbage gala person posing
Attendees were asked to put together outfits made of recyclable materials for the event. (ALICE MORENO)

“I was kind of struggling with what to wear. And I asked my mom for advice, and she had a whole bag of old receipts from last year’s Christmas,” O’Malley said. “So I took those back with me to school, and I took an old tube top that I had shoved away because I wanted to get rid of it.”

After dancing for a while to early-2000s hits, the Environmental Club president, Kenneth Tang, GSBLC ’24, walked in amazed at the level of sustainability and partying within the atrium. He joined the dancing and took videos of the event for the social media page for the Environmental Club.

“We wanted to find a way to upcycle old clothing and throw a dance that can be a formal gala off of it with food and a photo backdrop,” Tang said. “This is a collab between Environmental Club and FFP because it relates to both of our clubs’ missions.”

As I mingled around the gala, I witnessed a very creative and sustainable clothing piece. I moved closer and realized it was a corset made out of recycled packaging and yarn. The cherry on top was the heart shaped sticker in the middle of the corset. The brains behind the corset was none other than Marie Atendido, FCLC ’24 and vice president of the Environmental Club. 

dancing at garbage gala
Snowflakes made out of newspapers decorated the glass atrium with silver balloons filling the room. (ALICE MORENO)

“I just took a package that I got from the mail — like Amazon or something — and this is the inside of it, and I kind of just cut it into a rectangle, put holes in it and put a piece of yarn in the back. And then I put a little sticker, a little heart on it,” Atendido said. 

Atendido emphasized that she thought both clubs did a wonderful job with the event and was very happy with the turnout. She added that she was very happy with how people followed the dress code.

I loved what everyone did to diy something for the gala,” Atendido said. “All our members are so creative.”

An hour into the gala, seniors from the senior toast noticed the lights and began flocking to the gala to partake in the festivities. As the night went on, the gala grew, and many took to the dance floor. Several students started mosh pits and encouraged more students to join. Seniors began to conduct photoshoots with the backdrop to commemorate the night. 

The night ended with hits from Miley Cyrus and many took the silver balloons–meant as decoration–home with them. This gala is not the only event that FFP has in store. There are more events to come for Fordham Lincoln Center students, such as a drag ball for next semester.