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Planet Runway celebrates sustainable fashion

By MANSHA KAPUR | March 12, 2020

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COURTESY OF MANSHA KAPUR The Sustainable Fashion Show featured many diverse eco-friendly outfits.

Students for Environment Action (SEA) — in collaboration with Compassion Awareness and Responsible Eating (CARE) and Fiber Arts — hosted its annual sustainable fashion show, Planet Runway, on Saturday, March 7, in the Levering Great Hall. The event, in its cornucopia of vibrant vogue ensembles presented against a backdrop of popular beats, exemplified how sustainable living is always in style.

Planet Runway invites students to design and put together — or model — outfits out of old clothes and thrift-wear, providing creatives with a unique platform to showcase a fusion of style and environmental conscience. 

The event is held in criticism of “fast fashion,” a contemporary term referring to designs that are rapidly moved from catwalk to cart to maintain pace with the ever-evolving trends in the industry. Fast fashion has recently acquired a negative connotation because of its adverse impacts on both the environment and the low-wage workers behind the stitches.

“Fast fashion can be exciting, but our consumerism negatively impacts others,” junior Becca Sosa said. Sosa led the organizing team with fellow junior Omar Azmeh.

“I love this event because it’s amazing to see these creative and often personal designs that people come up with,” Sosa said. 

Participants and audience members were also encouraged to bring their used apparel for a thrift exchange that lasted the duration of the evening. 

Old clothes found new wearers towards the end of the evening, and the remaining pieces were either donated or set aside until the next event.

This year’s show attracted a total of 21 designers and models and a hall packed with friends, family and fashion enthusiasts. The designs ranged from chic revamps of old denim to an elegant rendition of the “e-girl” aesthetic, with several effectively embodying the philosophies of their creators. 

Senior Audrey Chang’s two ensembles are prime examples of the latter category. Copious and intricate gold-patterned drapes distinguished the work and made for a strong rebuttal to the antiquated argument that second-hand and sustainable wear can’t aspire for the extravagance of high-fashion.

That each outfit was put together by more-or-less untrained hands is a key takeaway. Though they carried with them a justifiable simplicity, the designs maintained a standard of inventive appeal that is arguably what drives the fashion industry itself. 

That the outfits were put together through purely recycled materials is a strong message and source of inspiration to those not otherwise cognizant of just how far one can go to implement the three R’s in their lifestyle. 

What made this year’s Planet Runway particularly special was the catering by CARE, the vegan, healthy-eating and animal welfare club on campus. Co-President sophomore Elly Ren, who was also a model, manned a sumptuous vegan charcuterie board with a representative spread of plant-based cheeses, meats, crackers and dry fruits that complemented the themes of the evening. 

“There weren’t any vegan options last year, so we decided to cater!” Ren said, as she rushed between her designer and her stall to replenish the depleting snacks. 

“It’s a lavish array that people aren’t usually aware of. It shows how far the food industry has come in creating substitutes that are often more delicious than their counterparts — and are completely cruelty-free.”

The food was virtually all consumed by the end of the event: the sign of a successful endeavor. 

Planet Runway brings people together in a demonstration of the ease with which we can achieve a sustainable lifestyle without losing touch with what we love most about high fashion. Junior Keelin Reilly, president of SEA, remarked that he anticipates an even greater turnout for next year’s Planet Runway. 

Following the keen upward trend in environmental conscientiousness and criticism of fast fashion, it is likely that his prediction will ring true. Be sure to stop by next year and support the movement.

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