Seventeen entries across three design categories (Garage Sale, Toy Box, Mix and Match Throwback) will take to the runway this year as Asheville Community Theatre celebrates the 10th anniversary of “Costume Drama: A Fashion Show.”

The competition is centered around the creation of fashion from unconventional material and all entires are expected to go above and beyond.

“We have pieces made from, among other things, camping tents, lounge chairs, photo slides from a trip to Scotland, LEGOs. You really have to see these pieces, and hear what the designers share about them, to get the full picture,” said ACT Marketing Director Jenny Bunn.

“Every year, we try very hard not to give away the looks in advance, which is so challenging because they’re absolutely stunning and we can’t wait for them to be seen.”

Design Team

The Three Graces is a team of three designers made up of Hannah Black, Charlotte Cat Murphy and Susan Sertain, who will be returning to “Costume Drama” this year.

The TGs will be submitting a piece in the Garage Sale category. The item is constructed of lampshades, parasols, fans, Christmas ornaments, wicker from a lounge chair, fake flowers, picture frames, dolls, fake fruit, bead garland, angel statues, a rolling stool, a desk chair, foam, fake birds, a wire teapot, three French horns, a fake trumpet, upholstery trim, three cornucopia, deconstructed chandelier bits, button lights, bows, upholstery strapping, confetti garland, a toy horse, family photos and National Geographic covers.

How about that for something sleek to slip into?

For first-time designer Kristi Coriden, the Toy Box category resonated strongly with her fashion sense.

Bingo chips, Risk characters, Monopoly deeds, two or three packs of UNO cards, Bezzerwizzer Game chips, and Trivial Pursuit pie pieces will provide the landscape for her piece de resistance.

Over the years, “Costume Drama” has evolved to deliver a unique event for artists and guests by taking a bit of inspiration from five years ago and stitching in new rules from last year.

“We really followed the outline we created for last year’s show, which was a major departure from the eight live shows presented annually,” said Bunn. “Last year, designers had a hard time acquiring materials, so we ditched the design categories and allowed everyone to simply create a garment using whatever unconventional materials they had access to. We had garments made of magazines and junk mail, recycled soda cans, old computer equipment. For this year’s show, we returned to having design categories, but tried to make sure they could be interpreted flexibly if COVID took a turn for the worst and designers once again had a tough time procuring items.”

To win “Costume Drama,” designers, who compete for cash and prizes, present their work to a panel of judges to win the best look in their category and, ultimately, the show.

This year, six judges who each have a background in fashion, design or visual art will preside over the entries.

Following the event, selected garments, including the three category winners, will be exhibited at the Asheville Art Museum from Sept. 15 to Oct. 4.

Live-Streaming for Safety

Because of COVID-19, this year’s “Costume Drama” has been prerecorded and will stream online Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available online at

“We came up with the idea last year when COVID had shut down so many venues, including ACT,” said Bunn.

Since its inception, Costume Drama has raised tens of thousands of dollars, and all of that money stays in the Asheville community, said Bunn. The funding allows for continued collaboration and imagination to be nurtured and encouraged.

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