Young adults strutted down a makeshift runway in sustainable outfits as a part of Sustainable Evanston’s fashion show fundraiser, “A Recycled Show,” Friday evening. One model’s outfit featured a pair of jeans decorated with cut-out strips of pink lingerie sewn on, while another featured a hand-sewn floral lacy two-piece set.
Sustainable Evanston is a community organization that aims to make sustainable fashion more accessible and support community-based mutual aid. The fashion show featured original pieces for an auction on Instagram afterwards, along with a curated vintage clothing pop-up shop.
“I’ve always been really into clothes, and I’ve always loved fashion and thrifting,” said SESP junior and Sustainable Evanston Founder Lucia Shorr, who organized the event. “I want to expand, and I want to offer this platform — a localized clothing resale with a mutual aid component — to other communities.”
The group typically donates 20% of proceeds to the mutual aid fund for Students Organizing for Labor Rights, but the funds raised from this event will go toward Sustainable Evanston’s expansion, according to Shorr. She said she hopes to make Sustainable Evanston an established business or LLC to build websites or apps that would increase the group’s donations.
Friday’s fundraiser has earned about $500 so far, but as auctioning continues, the profit will increase, Shorr said.
Many of the clothing items on the runway were upcycled, Shorr said, made with sewing, cutting and screen printing on old items. This process, which is intended to minimize waste, turns items that are “potentially out of style” into more fashion-forward pieces, Shorr said.
Weinberg Jr. and Creative Director Leo Dulitzky Gilman said Sustainable Evanston was able to source more than 200 donated clothing items to upcycle.
“At a place like Northwestern where, to put it bluntly, people have a lot of money and spend it on stuff that they don’t really need, there’s a lot of waste that goes into the clothing that people buy,” Dulitzky Gilman said . “They tend to buy from fashion brands that are polluting the earth and producing clothes at a rate much higher than anyone can buy.”
For 20-year-old Chicago resident Chloe Hernandéz, who modeled at the show, sustainable clothing is something “that can be passed on to generations.” She said a lot of clothing is just bought and forgotten, but thrifted or sustainable clothing has more lives.
The fashion show fundraiser boasted a full house, according to Shorr, with many visitors coming to support Sustainable Evanston.
“It was really fun to walk into the first Sustainable Evanston show and be a part of something that’s good for the community,” Hernandéz said. “This sustainable fashion is really great for the world. It’s a really good place to start with environmentalism.”
Shorr urged Evanston residents to “become engaged with (their) community” and donate or attend Sustainable Evanston events.
Dulitzky Gilman similarly hopes people prioritize purchasing second-hand items rather than brand-new products.
“I want to hopefully raise some money for the mutual aids that we donate to,” Dulitzky Gilman said. “And also for people to come away from the event with a new appreciation for creativity that can be found in secondhand clothes for sustainable living.”
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