Fanshawe fashion students tell "The Story" of sustainability

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: HANNAH THEODORE
The physical pop-up shop is located in the Siskind Gallery at Fanshawe's London Campus.

A 12-year long partnership between Fanshawe College and Goodwill Industries has been reignited.

Second-year students in Fanshawe’s fashion marketing and management program hosted “The Story,” an annual pop-up shop showcasing hand-selected and gently used clothing from local Goodwill stores. This year, the sale ran between Dec. 1 to Dec. 7 online at The garments were also being sold in-person at Fanshawe’s London campus in the Siskind Gallery.

“The Story” highlights the importance of sustainability in fashion. By highlighting gently used, second-hand pieces, students hope to encourage shoppers to give their clothes a second chance. They spend the entirety of the fall term picking through items at local Goodwill stores to sell during the event. Teams of students also coordinate photo shoots and marketing campaigns through social media.

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The theme for this year’s pop-up was 2000s-themed fashion. Student and member of the social media and marketing committee, Trent Ainsworth, explained how it felt to search Goodwill for garments.

“When we found full-velour tracksuits or very colourful, sequined items, I think that was really exciting for us,” said Ainsworth.

Professor Deb Trotechaud said the experience of putting “The Story” together gives students experience in various aspects of planning a fashion event.

“Students now have some insight of how to put together a pop-up,” said Trotechaud. “Whether it’s online or in a physical space.”

Trotechaud also had the difficult task of adapting certain aspects of the pop-up due to COVID-19. Normally the pop-up event is held at Goodwill Industries with a live fashion show. This year, items were available online through Shopify.

“The online component, with Shopify, has been a great learning experience,” she said. “Taking photographs of the clothing, editing it, and then doing descriptions, and pricing…so, all of that I think has been a pretty amazing experience.”

The event also aimed to support student mental health, with all proceeds from the event going towards a scholarship, known as the Community Impact award, to support students struggling with mental illness. Trotechaud said the focus on mental health is even more important amid COVID-19.

“Now more than ever, it needs to be brought to the forefront,” she said.

Katelyn Pitoscia is another student involved with “The Story,” as part of the social media and marketing committee. She said supporting student mental health is personal for her.

“I know a lot of people who suffer from mental illness,” she said. “So just being able to do this event and bring awareness to that…regardless if it’s just someone in your class or a close friend or family member…we all know that everybody has a story that we don’t really know about and everyone has their own struggle.”

The main message of “The Story” is sustainability. By selling second-hand clothing from Goodwill at affordable prices, the shop aims to promote the idea that second-hand clothing can be fashionable.

Pitoscia said the experience opened her mind to the possibilities of second-hand shopping.

“I didn’t really thrift a lot to begin with,” she said. “But now after doing this event, I [think] we should be doing this. All this clothing [is] so unique, and these pieces we pull, they can find a new home. Nobody else has them, they’re one of a kind.”

Through the pop-up shop, students tried to change the world of fast fashion, by promoting re-used materials and fashionable second-hand items.