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Fashion Students Repurpose Used Fashion Into Original Designs

December 20, 2022

three CCS fashion student models made up and adorned in newly created denim fashions

Students stunned in silks, denim, and other fabrics as they repurposed thrifted materials redefining their purpose through a “Fashion ReInterpretation” course offered at CCS. 

Fifteen high school dual-enrolled students and twelve undergraduates created one of a kind fashion looks. The course was partially sponsored by St. Vincent de Paul and the General Motors “Design for an Equitable Future” grant.  

Fashion Design Chair, Aki Choklat, and adjunct faculty members, Dana Keaton Wilson and Gabriella Weinkauf guided students through the design process. Each student received a $500 gift card to St. Vincent de Paul in order to purchase materials to repurpose into original designs that would later be on display in a Fashion Show. 10 high school students were able to participate at no cost through the General Motors “Design for an Equitable Future” grant.

Taking a few trips to the St. Vincent de Paul store, students filled shopping carts with clothing and left with garbage bags full of materials, lugging them up to the 9th floor studio. 

Dual enrollment students modeled their own looks at the Fashion Show, and anxiety was looming in the air that day, but Allison Runyan, Operations Manager of Precollege and Continuing Studies, was with students every step of the way. Runyan gave pep talks to boost their confidence before walking the runway, and every student left with smiles on their faces and pride in their work.

“They [students] said that they would do it again, and they were learning a lot and it was a hard concept,” Runyan said. “I’d go into the studio at the beginning and they’re like, ‘This is really challenging’ or ‘This is really frustrating, but it’s going to be worth it.’ Students were able to recognize that this was something that was hard for them to learn, but it was going to be worth it.”

All thrifted materials that were left unused, will be upcycled in future courses, so that more students can reimagine fashion and give old clothes a new purpose. 

High school students have the opportunity to take college-level courses and earn credits that simultaneously count toward high school and college through the CCS dual enrollment program. Dual-enrolled students learn about careers, hone their skills, and get to try out college before graduating high school.