B.R.A celebrates the possibilities of lingerie

By Anna Weldon

Last night, 30 fraternity brothers strutted, danced and teased an audience in an array of… Last night, 30 fraternity brothers strutted, danced and teased an audience in an array of donated bras — and all for a good cause.

Pitt’s Students in Free Enterprise teamed up with Kathleen Kirkwood’s Bra Recycling Agency for last night’s runway show held in the William Pitt Union. The show raised funds to support B.R.A. and breast cancer research.

Kathleen Kirkwood, founder of B.R.A., began the program in order to find a successful solution for the waste produced by the disposal of used bras.

“The sight of all the containers of bras being loaded onto freight trains, it was a devastating image,” she said.

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On Dec. 9 last year, Kirkwood successfully recycled 10,000 bras. B.R.A. ground the donated bras and removed the steel wire. They then transformed the fluff-like substance into a red carpet, which was first featured at a recent Oscar-related event.

The remaining wire is sold to scrap-metal plants, and the money obtained goes to breast cancer research through MetroHealth. Kirkwood plans to create more of the recycled red carpets and sell them for VIP events.

Delta Sigma Pi, MetroHealth, Campus representatives of PINK and Greek Life have all contributed their time and resources to the event. Pitt sororities donated old bras in an attempt to win a competition. The donated bras were featured in the show.

“People will come up to me and just hand me a bra at dinner,” said Stephanie Campbell, SIFE President.

Campbell collected more than 70 bras prior to the event and received a large, uncounted number at the end of the night. Though only some of the bras made an appearance on the catwalk, SIFE will donate them all to B.R.A. to be recycled.

SIFE raised over $150 in funds from the runway show. Tickets cost five dollars each. The proceeds from the runway show will benefit B.R.A.’s recycling program and MetroHealth for breast cancer research.

There were about 30 volunteer male models in the B.R.A. Runway Show who are all affiliated with a fraternity. The show featured five different themes that SIFE designated to the separate groups.

Delta Tau Delta strutted the runway for the introduction, which featured the “original,” or plain, bra, and a suit theme wherein brothers wore suit jackets and ties over their lingerie. They then stripped off their jackets to expose colored bras.

Brothers from Phi Delta Theta and Pi Lambda Phi modeled the jungle theme, wearing zebra and cheetah patterned bras with splattered paint on their faces and bodies. The models growled at the audience.

Zeta Beta Tau modeled the beach theme, wearing glasses and towels over their brightly colored bras.

Pi Kappa Alpha closed the show as Angels, imitating the well-known Victoria’s Secret models. These brothers danced and shimmered, clad in silver glitter and wings.

The boys worked the runway to mixes by DJ Aaron Kornhauser, a sophomore brother at Delta Tau Delta. The models gyrated, did tricks and flexed their muscles as final poses at the end of the catwalk.

Ryan DiSabato, a sophomore brother at Pi Kappa Alpha, modeled a black, lacy bra size 36DD and wings. DiSabato got involved in the event because the proceeds for the event went to a good cause, and he saw the show as a chance to have fun.

“And we’re pro-glitter,” DiSabato said.

Campbell viewed using the fraternities as an ideal “marketing strategy,” and hoped that the word of the event would spread because of Greek Life’s involvement. The event ended up receiving many enthusaistic guests who screamed and cheered for the scantily clad fraternity brothers.

Kirkwood thought the male models helped to lighten the somber topic of waste.

v“We cannot avoid waste, but if we focus too much on the damaging effects and not the fun parts of recycling, we won’t energize a group,” she said.

Everyone who attended the Runway Show received a complimentary “Bra Envelope” they can use to recycle old bras. The envelopes came already addressed to B.R.A., and the organization asked attendees to send at least two bras in the package.

At the end of the show, the models walked the runway one last time as a group. Kirkwood and Campbell joined them to yell, “Don’t burn your bra, recycle it,” her personal motto for B.R.A.

Zach Zeli, the vice president of project development, saw a positive future for the transformed lingerie.

“Even after these bras are recycled, they continue to support breasts,” he said.