By: Taylor McCann
As companies like Forever 21, H&M and Zara have advanced, consumers have the ability to partake in all of the latest fashion trends without breaking their bank. These fast-paced shopping habits are having significant impacts on our environment, leaving some textile manufacturing cities covered in smog.
Last year, when Miami University Fashion & Design (MUF&D) president Rachael Steed and vice president Sarah Craig took their positions, they made the decision to add a more philanthropic side to the organization by incorporating a sustainability initiative, as it is directly related to the fashion industry.
Through this initiative, MUF&D made it their goal to spread awareness on sustainable fashion and aid its members in implementing sustainable practices in their lives. Sustainable fashion is a concept widely discussed in the fashion industry, so the initiative will expose members to an educational background on the issue to prepare them for entering the fashion industry.
“As an organization, we strive to provide value to our members through experiential learning opportunities and educational initiatives that relate to the fashion industry,” said Craig.
To achieve their goals, MUF&D divided the year into four quarters, each quarter tackling a new goal proposed by the organization. This allowed the organization to focus on different phases of the initiative and set reasonable goals.
During the first quarter, MUF&D introduced the initiative to the organization and brought in Joi Sears, a professor in the department of entrepreneurship and owner of a sustainable fashion brand, to educate members on sustainability’s direct relation to fashion.
Fall semester, MUF&D hosted its first ever clothing swap where members and Miami students donated their clothing to swap for new pieces. At the event, participants were given free canvas tote bags while shopping to reduce the amount of plastic used and encourage them to reduce their carbon footprint.
Overall, the organization received over 500 accessories and clothing items, which increased the lifespan of the items and ultimately reduced the number of garments disposed of in landfills.
The clothing swap was such a success that MUF&D will be making it an annual event during the fall semester, with hopes of it growing as marketing strategies increase and the event becomes more known on campus.
To ensure that nothing went to waste, MUF&D created the Reuse + Recycle collection from the clothing that remained after the clothing swap. The collection will involve six senior designers deconstructing any leftover items from the clothing swap and creating new pieces out of them.
The collection will be revealed at MUF&D’s 12th annual fashion show on April 27 to show the audience that a little time and creativity is all you need to make old pieces new again.
This spring semester, MUF&D is introducing a sustainability newsletter written by one of its members. The newsletter will highlight sustainability-related fashion news, give tips on how to incorporate sustainability in our daily lives and discuss fashion brands who have implemented their own sustainable practices.
MUF&D is not seeking to make its organization fully sustainable immediately, as the transition is costly and will take time. Instead, MUF&D’s goal is to continue educating its members on sustainability and gradually foster sustainable practices into the organization for the years to come.
Photo via MUF&D