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A Fashion Show with an Environmental Twist at Brockville Collegiate Institute
A Fashion Show with an Environmental Twist at Brockville Collegiate Institute
Posted on 05/31/2024
Students pose at the BCI Fashion Show.

May 31, 2024 (Brockville, ON) - Last week students in the Brockville Collegiate Institute (BCI) Fashion Class partnered with the school’s Green Team to hold a glamourous fashion show with an environmental twist. The event highlighted the negative impacts of fast fashion on our planet while showcasing the trendy options available at local thrift stores.

Understanding Fashion, a Grade 11 College Prep course, introduces students to the world of fashion, where they learn about fibers, fabrics, and principals of design and utilize various tools, technologies, and techniques to create their very own fashion items.

In addition to this, students are exposed to the social and environmental factors related to the fashion industry. It was during these lessons that students were shown videos of the mountains of waste and devastating environmental footprint that fast fashion leaves on our planet. Shocked by what they saw, the students worked with their teacher, Shannon McKinnon, to brainstorm ways they could help reduce fashion waste and bring this message of conservation to their school and community.

The students explored local thrift stores and quickly realized that used clothing is a fashionable, functional, and affordable alternative to the fast fashion available at larger retailers. Plus, many items can be altered, or “upcycled” to add personal flair or to update the design. Inspired by their shopping trip, the students partnered with the BCI Green Team and started planning a “Pre-Loved Fashion Show” that would showcase used clothing and upcycled fashion items.

Brockville’s The Score, Thifty’s, and The Greater Good thrift stores allowed students to browse and select pieces, and then generously donated the items to the project. The students got right to work tweaking and altering the items on the school’s new sewing machines.

To help in the design process the class welcomed Robert E. Blackmon, a fashion designer and lifestyle specialist who gave them valuable feedback on their proposed designs. Blackmon also donated accessories that would help make their creations shine on the runway.

In the lead up to the fashion show, the class also had the opportunity to visit the St. Lawrence College Hairstyling Program to learn styling techniques they could implement into the show.

This unique real-world learning project has motivated students to explore creative endeavors and work with their hands. Everything from the sewing, show planning and promotion to model recruitment, hair, makeup, and photography was executed by students.

“I really enjoy the hands-on experience, learning how to do different designs with hair, makeup, sewing and upcycling different bags and shirts and stuff,” said fashion class student Isabel Phillips.

“I think it's fun because we get to learn about fast fashion in this course. I like just getting the hands-on experience,” added student Dustin Crowder.

“It's really fun to get to learn how to do all of these different skills in a supportive environment,” said student Abigail Castillo. “Ms. McKinnon is great, she really keeps us all on track and is helping us learn new stuff, which is really fun!”

UCDSB Real-World Learning Partner Angela Hunter praised the project as a great example of the impact RWL can have on students. “With real-world learning, we want students to connect classroom knowledge to real-world situations and experiences, and this project exemplifies this. The students developed critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and practical skills that can be applied to other courses, their workplaces and into their future.”

“The teacher and I both witnessed student attendance increase in her class and the level of engagement increase dramatically from the beginning of the semester,” she added. “In the end, you could see how proud they were of their work and showcased it with energy and flair on the runway.”

The show itself was a raucous event, with enthusiastic students cheering on the models and applauding the unique and fashionable outfits created by the team. The Green Team prepared a slideshow that highlighted the negative impacts of fast fashion to kick off the show, offering students insight into their shopping habits and how these decisions can negatively affect the environment. The show ran through segments featuring casual wear, dressy casual and upcycled fashion, with the finale showcasing elegant grad/prom dresses.

Fashion Class teacher Shannon McKinnon took a moment during the show to shine a spotlight on the hard work it took for the students to turn their ideas into reality.

“Putting together this fashion show has been a great real-world learning opportunity for my students. They have learned new skills such as operating a sewing machine to create their own pieces, upcycling clothing to make something new. They have learned to work effectively as a team to take on many roles to create a successful event. I am so proud of what they have accomplished with this project. They have acquired skills they can take with them to new experiences.”

After showcasing their finds and creations on the runway, the students moved the clothing to their very own BCI Thrift Store in the schools’ learning commons, where their classmates can purchase the items for a fraction of their retail price. Proceeds will help support the Fashion Class with a portion being donated to Palliative Care at the Brockville General Hospital.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Zac Osmond
Communications Officer
Upper Canada District School Board
[email protected]

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