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An upcycled “trash” fashion show: how SLCC students are making fashion more sustainable

An upcycled “trash” fashion show: how SLCC students are making fashion more sustainable


SALT LAKE CITY The fashion industry produces about 10 percent of our annual global carbon emissions, according to several environmental organizations.

The Fashion Institute at Salt Lake Community College celebrated Earth Day 2024 on Monday by demonstrating how sustainable practices are within reach and how every ordinary person can help save the world.

The college celebrated Earth Day with a day-long celebration demonstrating the fashion institute's commitment to teaching students how to use environmentally friendly practices in their future careers.

“Fast fashion is one of the biggest contributors to climate change and the destruction of our planet. The fashion industry creates so much waste,” said Peter Moosman, who contributed to the event and works as director from the school's Gender and Sexuality Student Resource Center. “We wanted to engage people in a conversation about the Earth in a fashionable way.”

The celebration, titled “Earth Couture, Fashioning a Sustainable Future,” included a student-led fashion show in which Salt Lake Community College students used recycled, upcycled and repurposed clothing to create new fashion pieces. Additionally, workshops on garment dyeing, printing and alteration were conducted by members of the college staff throughout the afternoon. The school even collected racks of discarded clothing for students and guests to alter and reuse.

Jonas Jacobs showcases his recycled, upcycled and repurposed clothing on Monday at the first-ever SLCC Trashion Show at SLCC's Fashion Institute in Salt Lake City.
Jonas Jacobs showcases his recycled, upcycled and repurposed clothing on Monday at the first-ever SLCC Trashion Show at SLCC's Fashion Institute in Salt Lake City. (Photo: Marielle Scott, Deseret News)

“Fashion will never go away, but it is literally unsustainable as it is today. We cannot sustain this amount of waste and this amount of production; it will inevitably destroy the planet,” said Amy Royer , professor of sustainable development and textiles. at Salt Lake Community College.

Royer explained that students at the fashion institute are required to take a course on sustainability. She believes it is important to instill in fashion students the skills and mindset needed to pursue their careers to bring about positive changes in the fashion industry to increase its sustainability.

This year, students in the sustainability class showed off their new skills in sustainable practices at the “Trashion” show on Monday. Students were given a $5 budget to shop at a local Goodwill store and create a repurposed piece for the show, Royer explained.

Students used anything from old clothes belonging to family members to antique tablecloths to inventive looks, all to make viewers think twice before throwing away an item of clothing or determine that it is damaged due to a stain or tear.

“A lot of the goal of this event was to inspire creativity and get people to think before they throw something away and see if there's a new way to use it,” Moosman said, explaining how fashion has accelerated the habit of consumers throwing away clothing every year in exchange for newer, trendier clothing, which in turn causes discarded clothing to pile up in landfills.

The Fashion Institute at Salt Lake Community College and its staff members recommend that everyone look for ways to recycle or reuse their old clothes instead of throwing them away. Clothing can be altered in several fashionable ways, including hemming, patching, and changing the length of a garment, to name a few methods.

“We want to tell people not to support these fast fashion brands and instead try thrifting or recycling old clothes,” Royer said, explaining that she hopes events like these will continue to inspire people. people to adopt more sustainable fashion habits.




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