While some Humber students and staff made their way to the Food Emporium at North Campus to grab lunch on Wednesday, many also left with a smart looking shirt or professional pair of pants. The second annual Eco Closet event, held in the IGNITE concourse, was organized and executed by students of the Fashion Arts and Business program and featured clothing, accessories and shoes donated from the Humber community and beyond.
“We see that second-hand thrift shopping is becoming a popular trend. It used to be very uncommon. Now, students are proud when they can find that perfect second-hand find in good condition,” said Jennifer Dawson, program coordinator of the Fashion Arts and Business program. “Our students have internships and we wanted to promote that they can buy professional business clothing at a reduced cost and feel confident when they are going into their work placements.”
With all items priced at $20 or less, student and staff customers were able to stock up on professional attire.
“I was here for lunch, but I am inquisitive about fashion, so I thought I would come take a look. I think it’s a personal choice and I am all for recycled clothing,” said Samar Syan, a Supply Chain Management student. “Just because it doesn’t have any use for somebody else, doesn’t mean it can’t be of use for somebody like me. Also, as I am looking for work, this fits into my budget.”
Students from the Fashion Arts and Business program were in charge of the publicity, public relations, project management, donor engagement and event management for the event.
“Our students organized the whole floor plan, layout, and sourced the clothing. Cosmetic Management and Esthetician/Spa Management students are giving express nails, photography students are here to produce professional LinkedIn headshots, so once you find that perfect piece you can go and get your headshot taken,” said Dawson. “We are focusing on dressing for success as attitudes towards second-hand clothes are changing.”
Student Maya Kitler was tasked with public relations for the event. This involved contacting potential donors, media relations and promoting Eco Closet to the Humber community.
“The experience has been very eye opening for me. I had the opportunity to reach out to so many organizations for donations, including the David Suzuki Foundation. Aisha Poitevien and Alexandra Portman from The Foundation donated and I was able to go to their offices and talk to them about the work they do,” said Kitler. “For a while I have wanted to do PR, so to be in a position where I am the head of something, it really makes me understand how the real world works.”
Last semester, fashion students took an ethics and sustainability course in which they were taught about the effect of the fashion industry on the environment and how to help mitigate that impact. To draw on some of Humber’s sustainability expertise, Eco Closet was put on in partnership with the Office of Sustainability.
Carissa Selbie was the project manager for the event and was impressed with the collaboration across the Humber community to make it happen.
“This event ties to everything we have been learning about event planning and budgeting and definitely adds to all the other courses we have to take,” said Selbie. “It is definitely important for everyone to learn to shop second hand, reuse and remake things or share with your friends. If you aren’t going to wear it anymore, give it to someone else who will.”
External fashion and sustainability influencers and companies also attended the event, including Sage Paul, Indigenous fashion designer; Matt R. Edwards, content creator; PaintMob, custom apparel and footwear; and Pynt Clothing, reworked apparel company owned by Humber Fashion student Meghan Payant.