'Reclaimed and reinvented': Barbie dolls sport recycled fashion in virtual benefit auction

SONOMA, Calif. (KGO) -- Sporting a jaunty cap made of a recycled pacifier, one of many Barbie dolls decked out in trash-based fashion took the spotlight in a virtual runway show at the Sonoma Community Center Saturday.

Some may say a new line of Barbie dolls is trashy, but the Sonoma Community Center is calling them "reclaimed and reinvented" as part of their tenth annual "Trashion Fashion" auction event where items up for bid are new interpretations of Barbie dolls feature clothing made from cast-off and recycled materials.

The items reused by artists include plastic utensils, busted balloons, popsicle wrappers and pipe cleaners.

One doll's shiny tinfoil strapless top, closely molded to her upper body, demonstrated that detritus need not be déclassé.

Another doll, dubbed "Goddess of the Sea," wore a seashell skirt-a tongue-twisting sobriquet that didn't faze the event's hosts, Eric Jackson, the center's creative programs manager, and office coordinator Molly Spencer.

The hosts held up doll after doll for examination, enthusing over the inventive transformations. The show also included hilarious videos, one involving a courtship between a Ken and a Barbie wearing a skirt made of bright orange tea bag containers.

On a more serious note, one doll wore long black judges' robes and a recycled lace collar in homage to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the associateSupreme Court justice who died in September. Another doll was dressed as a suffragist, celebrating the 100th anniversary in 2020 of women's right to vote.

Even host, Eric Jackson said, "At the end of the day, this is about creative waste management --how we give everything a second life to avoid the planet being buried in garbage."

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Most of the dolls are the creations of local community members, though some were designed by people from as far away as Arkansas and New Jersey.

"When we start thinking of discarded items as useful materials we can shift our thinking to become more aware of our waste footprint and prioritize reducing and reusing. Great job everyone," Sloane Pagal, program manager for Zero WasteSonoma said in the chatbox.

Around 600 people attended last year's in-person auction, and more than 100 people showed up for Saturday's virtual event, exceeding the number of people allowed to attend by Zoom.

The auction raises funds for the center. Bidding runs through next Saturday, Nov. 21. See the Barbie dolls at sonomacommunitycenter.org here.

Bay City News contributed to this report.
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