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This Fashion Student Is Using Recycled Clothing to Spread an Important Message

By Meaghan Cayer on April 14, 2017
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Chavon Holiday inspected the two garments in front of him – one a cool, burgundy cotton sweater, the other a tattered, moth-eaten knit top. He then put some music on, and got to work. 

Chavon is a participant in the Green Eileen project, an initiative from Eileen Fisher to repurpose their customers' "gently loved" garments into new garments to sell. All profits support programs for women, girls and the environment. 

The project started off with a visit to Eileen Fisher's Chestnut Hill location, where students had the opportunity to speak with store associates about their Green Eileen division. At the store, they discussed the Eileen Fisher brand – their aesthetic, the fabrics they used, what their consumer looks like and their target demographic – as well as the purpose and message of the Green Eileen initiative. 

"It was important to them that we understood how it's about reaching out to people and making a contribution in a positive way – being resourceful and responsible," said Chavon. "We really used the information they gave us and put our own personal spin on it. They gave us a direction to go in, but also room to be creative and open and express ourselves while also getting their message out." 

Back on campus, the design process was not so simple. Students not only had to design a unique garment from recycled fabrics, but do it with the Eileen Fisher brand and aesthetic in mind. 

"My aesthetic and Eileen Fisher's differ hugely. I think they come from the perspective of spontaneous sophistication. It was really about drape and structure, as well as comfort and function," said Chavon. "I thought, we're speaking from the perspective of a certain customer, so be smart about that but still stay true to your aesthetic. I put a lot of thought into it, and came up with a princess-lined top with a little bit of a kimono." 

This new skill and perspective will serve Chavon well after his time at Bay State College, when he plans to work under another designer to learn how they research, forecast trends and work with fabrics. Eventually, he would like to come up with his own couture and ready-to-wear designs. 

Chavon's major take away, however, stems from the bigger picture. 

"I think it's important, as the number one pollutant in the world, to try our best to make a positive impact. I realized that I myself need to be more responsible when it comes to being resourceful. I need to be aware of what's going on and look out for our environment and the people around me. With this project, I learned that I can use what I know and what I care about to reach out to people in a new way." 

Learn more about Bay State College service learning initiatives here. Then join us at the annual student-run Bay State College Fashion Show to see some of our service learning project garments first-hand! This year's theme is Greenhaus Couture and is all about recycling, reusing and repurposing. Admission is free. Join us Sunday, May 7th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the Galleria, located at 10 Saint James Avenue in Boston.