September 24, 2023

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These Montrealers are fighting fast fashion with a new upcycling challenge

When a professional constructing in Bangladesh that housed a garment manufacturing unit collapsed in 2013 killing more than 1,000 personnel in what has come to be acknowledged as the worst garment sector accident in historical past, Sarah Jay realized she experienced to get action. 

A calendar year and a half after the tragedy, the Montreal-born, Toronto-centered trend activist suggests she travelled to the scene to document the stays of the collapse and, simultaneously, the darkish side of quick fashion. 

“It was a actually challenging journey. I set myself there to experience the scenario and go dwelling to bridge the gap for workers’ problems and convey the urgency of these issues,” claimed Jay.

As a consequence of the disaster, Jay — then the inventive director of Canadian sustainable fashion non-governmental organization Fashion Can take Action — threw her assist behind the Canadian branch of Fashion Revolution, a not-for-income global fashion activism motion that advocates for improved functioning circumstances for garment employees and encourages the sector to be additional sustainable.

“This tragedy genuinely shook the manner field,” Jay explained.  “Staff are [at the] the debut of a fashion chain — they ought to have to have very good operating circumstances.”

Jay stated she commenced reflecting on the excess of outfits in her individual closet and was involved about where by the garments were coming from and, finally, where they would finish up as soon as they had been no lengthier required.

A 12 months just after the Rana Plaza garment manufacturing unit collapsed in Bangladesh, Jay, still left, travelled to the web site to doc the catastrophe alongside with the dim side of the style industry. (Submitted by Sarah Jay)

Jay is now a person of the judges of Style Revolution Canada’s first Student Upcycling Challenge — a competitors that issues superior school and write-up-secondary college students throughout Canada to remodel current garments into new clothes, reusing textiles and fabrics to give them new everyday living. 

“This is the way for the potential, and we have to have to end employing new and reuse other outfits and materials to defend the ecosystem and factory staff,” Jay mentioned.

Expressing the improve she desires to see, Jay wore an upcycled dress on the red carpet of the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFA) in 2019 in hopes of redefining the term “luxurious clothing.”

“I went to the bedspread aisle at Price Village, my favorite portion of the retail outlet, and identified a polyester quilt that had a pleasant dimension and glow and upcycled it,” Jay stated. She bought the bedding for $12 and created her look out of it for the gala.

The College student Upcycling Obstacle invitations pupils to develop similar operates. The contest closes April 7. 

Vintage items ‘have a story’

Anabel Tremblay, 19, a next-yr manner college student at LaSalle College, signed up for the problem immediately after remaining approached by her teacher.

“I was by now upcycling and sewing items in my wardrobe … and this is a excellent opportunity to earn recognition for my operate,” said Tremblay

Right before hearing of the challenge, Tremblay had already upcycled two corsets — a single using the cloth of a made use of blouse and the other a pillow circumstance located in her aged apartment. 

“I like employing cloth that already exists, specially vintage parts for the reason that they have a tale and extra potential than a new cloth,” she stated. 

Two pictures, the first of a young woman sitting at her sewing machine and the second of her wearing white pants with a blue string sewed through metal holes.
Style pupil Anabel Tremblay, 19, states the challenge is a excellent opportunity to showcase her upcycling operate and make recognition for her sustainability efforts. (Submitted by Anabel Tremblay)

For the obstacle, she decided to upcycle white linen trousers she located in a donation box delivered to manner students for Eco-friendly Week in her school lobby. 

When she recognized the trousers failed to healthy, she realized her only two solutions had been to carry them again or upcycle them. 

“So I slice a person side and set a metallic circle to make a gap and lace it like a corset so it can in good shape any waistline,” she stated. 

“On the other aspect, I made a skirt I took from fabric I experienced from a earlier faculty undertaking.”

LISTEN | Sarah Jay on her own upcycled creations: 

All in a Weekend11:32Sarah Jay: Trend Revolution’s “College student Upcycling Problem”

We discuss with stylist and trend field specialist Sarah Jay about the newest challenge from Trend Revolution, the place college students are tasked with applying second-hand components to create one thing new. She explains the origin and mission of Style Revolution as effectively as her possess upcycled creation.

Tremblay claims she’s also heading to dye the pants orange organically by working with old carrots still left in her fridge for a “summery look.”

For Tremblay, successful this problem would depict a celebration for all her latest upcycling initiatives. This is her initially time implementing to a trend opposition.

“I think this is nice and a quite stylish challenge,” she reported. “Local climate alter is the conversation at the second and trend can be eco-pleasant.”