Can Fashion be Sustainable?

Vendor booth setup for Repurposed: Fashion Show + Auction. Shown (left to right): Pop Up Produce Founder, Amanda Zullo; Kit Owner and Volunteer, Demetria Cox; Kit Owner and Volunteer, Nina Zullo

Vendor booth setup for Repurposed: Fashion Show + Auction. Shown (left to right): Pop Up Produce Founder, Amanda Zullo; Kit Owner and Volunteer, Demetria Cox; Kit Owner and Volunteer, Nina Zullo

Fashion Week is known for its cutting edge apparel, creative designers, high profile clientele, and slender supermodels. Invitees view the latest trends and take note of what pieces to incorporate into their new season’s wardrobe. This past weekend, a new fashion show in town made heads turn as all the items on display were made from repurposed garments!

When you hear the word sustainability, chances are you think about quality of life, food and transportation. But, what about our clothing? What does clothing have to do with sustainability? Well, a lot actually.

The City of Charlotte’s Solid Waste Services’ Healthy Communities initiative teamed up with CrownKeepers, a local nonprofit, to present REPURPOSED: An Upcycled Fashion Show + Auction. The event was designed to encourage the almost 200 attendees to upcycle as a way to reduce waste from entering the landfills, thereby impacting our environment and our health. Hundreds of dollars were raised for the three benefiting organizations – Pop Up Produce, Sustain Charlotte and Hip Hop Caucus – all focused on helping the environment.

Pop Up Produce had a vendor table setup for attendees to learn about our work and even purchase Fresh Start Kits, as well as the opportunity to share our story with the crowd and explain how we are raising awareness and tackling food deserts.

Pop Up Produce is an avid supporter of all things sustainable, including apparel. Our own branded shirts are made by a local manufacturer, Recover Brands. Each shirt is made with 100% recycled fabric and 8 plastic water bottles. Can you believe it? And they're amazingly comfortable and soft. You can read more about Recover Brands' process here.

The event was held at LaCa Projects and featured 20 local designers who selected items from Goodwill and Value Village, transforming their garments into runway masterpieces. Everything from casual wear to evening gowns were on display as the gathered crowd bided on the auctioned items. You can see all the items here. Talk about a variety! I absolutely fell in love with the dress on the far right. Not only is it Asian inspired, it’s also Panthers colors! For $75, I now have a beautiful, one of a kind dress, clutch, fur shawl, necklace and hair accessory. What a deal and all for a good cause. So, if you happen to see me around town sporting this dress, you’ll know it’s a one-of-a-kind gem of sustainable apparel.

To learn more about CrownKeepers and watch the news clip on WBTV, click here.