July 19, 2019 5:23 pm
Updated: July 22, 2019 1:12 pm

Calgarians create garbage fashion to highlight ‘big problem’ of clothing waste

WATCH: It can be a quick solution if you’re caught out in one of those sudden showers Calgary’s been getting a lot of lately: grab a big plastic bag to help keep yourself dry. Now some people are donning those bags for another reason, using trash as a way to be environmentally fashionable. Gil Tucker has the story.

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They salvaged under the kitchen sink and in recycling bins, and now some Calgarians are using what they found to spread the word on sustainable fashion.

People with the Humainologie non-profit group are turning trash into wearable items for an event they’re calling Garbage Couture.

“The clothes that we’re going to be wearing at the event are not clothes that we’re suggesting people head out on the town in,” Humainologie CEO Salima Stanley-Bhanji said.

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“But (it’s) really just to make a point: how much wastage we have as a result of our clothing and fashion choices.”

READ MORE: This is why sustainable fashion matters

Among the items being created for the event is a dress made of a plastic garbage bag, decorated with things like a used toothpaste tube, bottle caps and cut up dish washing gloves.

“In the fast fashion industry, it’s really easy to dispose of an item and not really think about it,” Humainologie’s Quinn Lazenby said. “So we want to showcase the waste and make people realize how much they’re actually polluting.”

“Each Canadian is actually creating more than 80 pounds of fabric waste in any given year,” Stanley-Bhanji said. “And 85 per cent of that ends up in the landfill, so it’s a big problem.”

READ MORE: Fashion industry cleans up its act by tackling environmental and ethical issues

The Garbage Couture event happens between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on both Saturday, July 20 and Sunday, July 21 at the Humainologie store and gallery at 1514 7th St. SW in Calgary.

“When we think about recycling and the environment, we don’t really think about our fashion choices,” Humainologie’s Jaden Tsan said. “It’s important to bring attention to that.”

Tsan and Lazenby were working together to create headbands adorned with discarded water bottles and pop cans, hoping they’ll encourage people to think twice before throwing their unwanted clothes in the garbage.

READ MORE: ‘Fast Fashion’: environmental impacts and what you can do as a consumer

“Sustainable fashion is really about being environmentally friendly and socially responsible when we’re making our fashion choices,” Stanley-Bhanji said.

“Things like taking it to (a) consignment (store) or a charity bin or maybe organizing a clothing swap with some of your friends.”

Stanley-Bhanji hopes seeing people wearing the clothing salvaged from the trash will really help get the sustainability message across.

“I mean, if we were forced to wear all the garbage we create? Wow!”

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