Students recycle, upcycle garments to highlight fashion sustainability

By McCall Linke

Emily Schroeder and Paul Ditty work on their sustainable fashion pieces.
Emily Schroeder and Paul Ditty work on their sustainable fashion pieces.

Impeccably dressed art patrons mingle in anticipation of the event in the buzzing venue.

Imagine a very fashionable, trendy, cool scene.

Now, imagine that at UW.

The eco-chic fashion show hitting the University of Wyoming campus at 5 p.m. Friday, April 11, brings awareness about sustainability in the apparel industry and showcases students’ work.

Seventeen entries from across UW spotlight five categories: upcycled, eco-friendly material, exhibition, thrift store style and wearable art.

Each year, student honoraries Phi Omicron Upsilon and the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences put on a professional project. This year, the two joined forces for this free, catered event in the Visual Arts Building lobby.

“Eco-chic fashion show is an event to bring students together to create designs that are sustainable and either upcycled garments or thrift store garments or what we consider wearable art, which is like trash to treasure,” said Jessica Los, president of Phi Omicron Upsilon.

Keynote speaker Patricia Moura, in partnership with Dorly Piske from Partners of America, trains women to make bio jewelry in Recife, Brazil, to create a strong community and jobs for these women.

Students will compete to win a gift card for the bio jewelry and other prizes.  Bio jewelry will be on display and for sale at the event.

Proceeds from sales in the U.S. fund health programs, specifically mammography for women in Brazil.

“Watching everyone’s reaction to my work is amazing,” says senior student Paul Ditty while explaining his two entries.  He will display a menswear and womenswear garment with 10 queen flat sheets that he low water-emergent dyed.

“I’m kind of in this phase where I really like fractals and puzzle pieces, so it’s going to be all these different colors pieced together,” he says.

Seniors Los, Ditty and Emily Schroeder all said there has been a push in the Family and Consumer Science Department for sustainability awareness.

“The apparel industry isn’t really known for being kind to the environment,” notes Ditty

The Eco Chic fashion show is to prove that, “Yes. There is a way to be fashionable and conscious of the environment,” says Schroeder.  “The textile and apparel industry is really harsh on the environment because it uses a lot of water in each of the process to produce finished products.  With the dwindling availability of natural resources, it is important to ensure that manufacturing can be viable in the future.”

For more information search Facebook for Eco Chic: A Sustainable Style Fashion Show.