Fanshawe pop-up shop combines sustainability and storytelling

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: HANNAH THEODORE
Professor Deb Trotechaud watched on as student Kylie Devies thanked the audience at "The Story".

The third floor of Goodwill Centre on Horton Street was transformed into a sustainable fashion pop-up shop last Thursday night.

“The Story” was a semester-long labour of love organized by students in Fanshawe’s fashion marketing and management program in partnership with Goodwill Industries. The goal of the event was to promote upcycled garments, support students with mental illness, and make a statement against fast fashion.

For months ahead of the pop-up, students picked through clothing from Goodwill stores in the London area. Their finest finds were sold at the event, while other pieces were redesigned and upcycled for an intricate fashion show.

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Student Jared Bugler was responsible for merchandising and modelling for “The Story”. Decked out in thrifted clothes from head to toe, Bugler said the planning process may have been stressful, but that he knew his efforts were contributing to an important cause.

“A lot of work and hours have been put into it,” he said. “We just want to do sustainable fashion. The fashion industry is one of the largest polluters in the world. So, we really want to make a positive imprint on the world, especially with fashion.”

The push for sustainable fashion is not new at Fanshawe College. The fashion marketing and management program has partnered with Goodwill for over 10 years, and professor Deb Trotechaud said many courses at Fanshawe focus on upcycling.

“We’ve really been advocates of that for a long time,” she said. “Just really watching what you’re doing and spending your money and teaching them about fast fashion. As a program we’ve really embraced it.”

But “The Story” was about more than just the clothes, as social media marketing leader, Kylie Devies explained.

“It’s called “The Story” because we all have our own story,” she said. “All those pieces of clothing have their own story, and the people that are purchasing them all have their own stories. So, of course there are going to be people here that have mental health issues.”

Models walked the runway in entirely upcycled materialsModels walked the runway in entirely upcycled materials. PHOTO CREDIT: HANNAH THEODORE

That focus on mental health and personal stories underlined the evening, as all the proceeds from the event were put towards a scholarship for students struggling with mental health.

“It’s not just going towards our program, but Fanshawe students as a whole,” said Devies. “I think it’s really important that students see that and support that.”

Devies said the fashion program might be small, but that they make a big impact on student life.

“We really have a lot to offer.”

As the models began their walk through the third floor, students hurried in their final stressful moments to prepare the models and clear a runway through the crowds of patrons. Trotechaud watched at the door as the models filed into the space and her students’ hard work came to life.

“The Story” saw the fashion marketing and management program putting not just their work, but their entire faculty on display, setting a standard for sustainability, community engagement and mental health awareness.