Value Village unveiling thrift store designs at Eco Fashion Week

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Image: Value Village/Laurel Dailey

Eco Fashion Week is hitting Vancouver this April, bringing with it inspiring new sustainability concepts, including a partnership between Value Village and Vancouver’s Visual College of Art and Design (VCAD).

10 students from VCAD are designing and showcasing a collection created entirely from Value Village clothing and accessories in a fashion show on April 11.

Value Village and Eco Fashion Week have coined the event as the “81 Pound Challenge,” based on the statistic that North Americans throw out an average of 81 pounds of clothing every year. VCAD students will design and create a collection from secondhand clothing and accessories, courtesy of Value Village, bringing new chic to clothing.

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Image: Value Village

According to Value Village’s director of communications, Sara Gaugl, their longstanding partnership with Eco Fashion Week is helping to inspire Vancouverites to recognize the massive impact their clothing has on the environment and offering them the solution: To Rethink Reuse.

“Value Village has been a proud supporter and presenter of Eco Fashion Week since the beginning. Year after year, we see momentum growing around the shows, which many say have become a highlight of Eco Fashion Week,” says Gaugl.

“Each year we challenge ourselves and Eco Fashion Week to develop exciting new show concepts to drive conversation around sustainable fashion. It’s been incredible to see the fresh creativity and talent these VCAD designers have, and we know the show will be one of the best yet.”

VCAD instructor Natasha Campbell says the challenge is supplying them with skills they can use in the real world.

“When the students graduate they’ll have the ability to say they transformed 81-pounds of clothing into a design,” says Campbell.

“They love it because it’s fun but also because it’s their challenge and when going forward with it they’re getting the mentorship that will help them execute the project.”

Campbell also credits the challenge to Eco Fashion Week and Value Village for giving students the opportunity to apply their skills in a real world setting.

“We’re so appreciative of Value Village for presenting and participating in the 81 Pound Challenge,” says Campbell.

Image: Value Village

Image: Value Village

“We’re really thrilled because Value Village has helped us become the first school attached to the 81 Pound Challenge. Collaborating with Value Village means that ten of our students are able to take this on, contributing in different ways and it’s enabling us to get this done right.”

Eco Fashion Week public relations manager Vee Pho says the 81 Pound Challenge is teaching students teamwork and invaluable fashion design insight.

“As opposed to bringing on one seasoned designer as we did in previous years, we’ve chosen to invite students to work together to create one collection. This process challenges students to think about the fashion industry while they’re in the education phase of their careers,” says Pho.

The challenge instills VCAD fashion students with sustainability values they can use in the future.

“We need to challenge the future fashion designers at an early stage to critically and consciously consume – they are the ones who will set the trends in the future, so we decided to break the consumerist cycle at the education level,” says Pho.

VCAD offers fashion marketing and design training with a curriculum that incorporates sustainability and social responsibility.

Overall, the goal of the 81 Pound Challenge is to inspire others to make sustainable shopping choices.

“We hope the creativity showcased in the 81 Pound Challenge and other Eco Fashion Week shows and seminars inspire and empower people to make clothing choices that benefit the environment, the community and the world,” says Gaugl.

“Textile waste has a detrimental impact on our world’s natural resources, but we at Value Village like to say that buying and donating used goods are some of the simplest ways to rethink, reuse and make an impact.”

Stay updated about the challenge by searching the hashtags #EFW and #RethinkReuse on your social media channels. You can read more about VCAD’s fashion program by clicking here and Value Village’s mission to rethink reuse at www.rethinkreuse.ca.

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