If you were assigned to make a piece of clothing out of Starbucks coffee sleeves, what is your reaction? Do you immediately get a vision and start creating, or do you just go pour yourself another cup of brew? For a creative Mississippi college freshman, the sleeves developed into part of a dress that became a first place winner in an annual competition for design students. Lareeca Rucker reported on this week’s story from Mississippi State U about turning recycled materials into clothing. The projects submitted included: shoes from Coke cans; a flapper dress made out of football passes; a purse from Reese’s pieces containers; a one-shoulder dress out of newspapers; and bike chain jewelry. The idea was to create a boutique-look in an item by using common throw-away materials and good design. The winning Starbucks-throwaway design utilized both the coffee sleeves and cups. The bodice was made of the sleeves and cups, and the skirt was created by cutting paper coffee filters into snowflake shapes. She finished the look with a belt tied in back made out of an old t-shirt. Though it looks great in the picture, wearing it would be another thing altogether. But it’s the idea that counts. These clothing items are a great visual to remind us all of not only the need to recycle, but more importantly, the need to conserve. While it IS possible to take such items as coffee sleeves and change them into an item of beauty, good design, and even something with a practical use, avoiding the use of the paper sleeves and cups in the first place is preferable. Using the reusable mug option that many coffee shops offer, or making your brew at home, can transfer into savings that can be used to purchase a real wearable piece of clothing. Now THAT’S a winning idea!