The challenge asked designers to create dresses from inedible items found at Subway restaurants.
With locations in more than 77 airports worldwide, quick service chain Subway is perhaps more closely aligned with airplane runways than the fashion variety, but that didn't stop the brand from hosting Project Subway, "an unexpected fashion event" to celebrate its Subtember and $5 Any Footlong offer in September.
Subway, which calls itself the world's largest restaurant chain, says Project Subway is "a fashion contest with a twist" that challenged designers to create "innovative and memorable pieces made entirely out of anything found at Subway restaurants from sandwich wrappers and napkins, to salad bowls and gift cards." In other words, anything except edible ingredients was fair game.
Subway says sustainability is "a key pillar of its brand," so all eight looks were made almost entirely out of materials that contain recycled content.
"These chic yet eco-friendly creations highlight the chain's goal of reducing its overall environmental footprint," Subway says.
Photos of the designs on the runway will be posted on the Subway Facebook page following the show. Subway has 24.4 million fans.
In addition, @Subway tweeted about #ProjectSubway to its 1.6 million followers. The designers also tweeted using #ProjectSubway, along with the judges, generating about 100 mentions.
The panel of judges included: Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin; Althea Harper, Season 6 runner-up of "Project Runway"; Raina Seitel, media personality and star of Style Network's "City Girl Diaries"; Lori-Ann Marchese, Mrs. Connecticut 2013; and Melanie Brown, "America's Got Talent" judge and former Spice Girl.
Naturally, the event was hosted by Jared the Subway Guy.
"We wanted to reach a different demo by entering the fashion conversation which differs from our sports themes, during fashion's biggest week in America," a Subway rep says.
According to Subway, the panel critiqued the looks and chose the winning design at the show's finale. The winner will have his dress displayed at a Subway restaurant in midtown Manhattan throughout the weekend and will receive free Footlongs for a year.
Gabrielli was ultimately declared the winner.
In the end, the Project Subway Collections were created using 2,509 sandwich wrappers, 1,926 grocery bags, 1,321 plastic sandwich bags, 873 napkins, 633 cookie bags, 593 straws, 504 gift cards, 107 salad bowls, and 79 pizza boxes, Subway says.
"In celebration of New York Fashion Week, we hosted Project Subway to challenge fashion designers to create couture made only of Subway materials. Subway restaurants and fashion go hand in hand - both allow for customization and creativity, with your Subway footlong, and in this case, with the looks the designers created," the rep adds.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014