Fashion show urges students to embrace thrifting
As amateur models strode in denim skirts and Tommy Hilfiger shirts to Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," a more particular conversation about sustainability and humanitarianism stirred throughout the banquet facility.
"Thrift, but Make It Fashion," a student-run event, was a fundraising event for the Isabella County Restoration House (ICRH) Nov. 12 at PohlCat Golf Course, located at 6595 E. Airport Road. The event aimed to be a sophisticated fashion show constructed with more than $200 worth of thrift store purchases, retired garments and volunteer efforts.
The show raised more than $1,000 and collected 30 outfits for the ICRH.
Mount Pleasant senior Stephanie Ley said the event offered a special type of elegance, showcasing how even the most forgotten pieces of clothing can made beautiful when allowed a new home.
With refreshments provided by Mountain Town Catering and a performance from the student group, Hypothetical Fistfight Improv, Ley said the event immediately suggested how far a group of recreation, parks and leisure services administration (RPL) students can go with a simple idea.
"I grew up in Mount Pleasant but had no idea RPL existed and were putting on events for the community and giving back to so many different types of people in the area," Ley said.
The five masterminds behind the event, seniors Morgan Pierce and Amanda Lewis, juniors Kayla Kuczynski and Hannah Medley and sophomore Emilio Sanchez, are classmates in RPL 430: Planning Recreation Programs and Events.
"We wanted to produce an event that was educational and could teach the community something. We went with the sustainable fashion idea because we thought it would be super entertaining," Kuczynski, a Macomb native, said. "It was a way to bring the community together to support a good cause, while also bringing awareness to something that's currently in the public spotlight."
By having ten student models rotate across a lit-up stage in outfits crafted entirely from Goodwill and Salvation Army "steals and deals," the students summoned a conversation and ultimate critique of fast fashion.
"Fast fashion" refers to the the mass production of clothing, which oppresses both people and the environment.
For example, The New York Times reported in September that more than 85 percent of American textile waste will never decay, ending up in landfills or being incinerated. As more than 80 billion items of clothing are consumed throughout the world annually, renewable energy guides like GreenMatch have categorized fast fashion as the second largest polluter globally.
The event was designed to ask its 100 attendees an immediate question: what are you going to do with your clothes when you're done with them?
"I think the heart of this event is a humanitarian aspect since all of the clothing and all of the proceeds are being donated," Kuczynski said. "We hope this event (inspired) people to continuously rethink where their clothes are going and where they're coming from."
For New Boston graduate student, Lyndsey Robbins, the event immediately reminded her of the clothes accumulating in her closet.
"The way we handle all of those outfits and cute clothes affects a lot more things than we could've expected," she said. "We shouldn't be throwing them out or waiting to buy new clothes the second they appear on the racks. We can be giving them to someone new."