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High schooler Nour’s personal project: Fashion upcycling

"The Personal Project is an annual Grade 10 MYP project where the students choose a topic they have a great personal interest in, and increase their knowledge in the topic as well as create a final product or outcome. My Personal Project was about upcycling where I took old clothes that were no longer worn and redesigned them into something different and better looking, but also sustainable. I chose my personal project by implementing my personal experiences and desires as well as influencing the desires of our generation to save the planet. I personally love designing clothes, it’s what I strive for, however, I also strive for the next generations to have a healthy future not absorbed and drowned in carbon dioxide, so I connected these two ideas together and created my personal project of up-cycling. Up-cycling for me means ‘up towards a better future and down with an industrialized, carbon dioxide filled future’.

I started off my project by asking the parents in the CIS community to donate any clothes they no longer wore and needed. I received a huge amount of clothes that I was very thankful for and from there I started picking items I knew I was able to up-cycle. I then started my process of sewing and redesigning which was very exciting but stressful as I had never tried creating a piece of clothing from an already made article of clothing. However, I was very impressed with the outcome as I turned a pair of jeans into a denim A-line dress, a long maxi skirt into a mini dress, an off-the-shoulder dress into a two-piece set and other creative items of clothes.

My goal was to show people that instead of constantly buying new clothes, you can always recycle what you already have and turn it into something that is not only unique and more functional, but also environmentally conscious. I wanted to give a reminder that being sustainable is not difficult and it is beyond just fixing your diet to a more plant-based one. Being sustainable to me is when you take action and create or do an activity that has environmental, social, and economic advantages while not spending an excessive number of assets, or causing any sort of harm or pollution. However, doing simple things such as buying second-hand clothes or selling your old clothes instead of throwing them away is more underrated despite the big difference that this makes.

Thinking about the future will not be useful if we don’t make a change presently. Maybe we should do more thrift shopping, not just for clothes but also other items that are second-hand. Try selling your old items: not only will you make money but it is much more sustainable than throwing things away. If you don’t want to sell then the least you could do is donate items to organizations such as Røde Kors (Red Cross). However, if you are really feeling creative then upcycling is a great away to reuse and recycle anything. The clothing industry must make a change for the future of fashion, but in the meantime, it is our responsibility to make the small differences."

Did you miss Nour Makhlof's previous article on sustainability in fashion?