SINT MAARTEN (CUL DE SAC) - Island Gems Charity Foundation will host its annual costumed gala on Saturday, April 13, at Emilio’s restaurant under the theme “Trashion –Turning trash into fashion.”
The island’s oldest charity and the only one to support projects and programmes on both sides of the island holds its gala after a year’s hiatus due to the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. The gala is at a new venue but will be have all of the renowned Island Gems touches.
“We don’t expect anyone to come dressed up in trash! The theme seeks to spark the imagination of attendees about the things we throw away and if those can be reused or upcycled,” said Alita Singh, Island Gems President.
Take the clothing industry, more than half of “fast fashion” is thrown away with a year according to industry averages. That industry generates 1.26 billion tonnes of greenhouse emissions every year, which is more than the amount created by international flights and shipping combined.
Less than one per cent of material ever used is recycled.Half a million tons of plastic microfibres are shed during washing and end up in the ocean — and therefore in the food chain.
“Just imagine less than one per cent of clothes are recycled. Our Caribbean culture once thrived on making things last and acquiring especially clothing of quality. Who didn’t have hand-me-downs as a child or as adults swapped items with family and friends,” said Anne Karine Fleming, Island Gems Vice President.
The Island Gems encourages the community to think and act more environmental conscious and make a concerted effort to reduce the trash that heads to the overburdened landfill.
Aside from clothing, the theme also allows attendees to explore ways other items can be repurposed and reused. A great place from ideas and acquiring items is The Waste Factory on Front Street. This initiative by Art Craft Café Foundation transforms plastic and glass bottles, fabrics, magazines and other throwaway items into usable things – from costume jewellery and home accessories to handbags.
The Waste Factory is a recent recipient of a donation from Island Gems to help with its waste awareness. A smart television was donated along with shears and heating guns. The television will be used for screening documentaries and how-to craft videos. The tools will be used in crafting projects.
Island Gems supports established organisations on both sides of the island that have sustained and long-term projects. The foundation does not give money; it purchases or pays directly for equipment and services. The funds for these projects come from the gala dinner ticket and silent auction sales.
The buffet-style dinner will offer up dishes created by St. Maarten’s iron chef Dino Jagtiani.
Emilio’s was purposefully chosen for the gala as it represents the restoration of something old to a new purpose.
Tickets for the gala cost US $125 each and are available from Island Gems members. In the past, Island Gems hosted its gala dinner at Captain Oliver’s restaurant. Unfortunately, the restaurant was damaged by Irma. The foundation is thankful for the many years Captain Oliver’s management and staff supported its fundraiser.