The Sustainable Fashion Initiative (SFI) at the University of Cincinnati is taking steps to change the way students view both fashion and the environment.
The organization, launched in August 2018, encourages people to recycle unwanted fabric and turn it into something new.
A typical meeting consists of fashion designers from across the nation speaking about the importance of recycled fabric in the fashion world. The organization hosts several panels and presentations by fashion designers that promote sustainability and educate others about the importance of recycling fabric.
“About one thousand pounds of scrap fabric pile up each semester in DAAP,” said Liz Ricketts, founder of SFI. The organization aims to mitigate the amount of fabric clogging landfills and hopes to cut fabric waste to zero percent at DAAP.
SFI translates its goals into action. During some meetings, students spend their time cutting up large sheets of fabric into smaller pieces.
Muslin, a cream-colored material often seen in fashion prototypes, can be recycled into a form of paper used for greeting cards and artistic journals. Tiny scraps of muslin can also be used as stuffing for a wide range of fashion projects.
Students take the more colorful scraps — usually collected from finished projects — and stitch the material together to form unique articles of clothing.
“Every time I come out of an SFI meeting, I feel inspired to make change,” said Lindsey Foust, a fashion design student and SFI member.
SFI recently teamed up with FABSCRAP, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit, to host pop-up sales at UC. The items at these events are made from textiles rescued from landfills that have since been restored by designers.
The organization also hosts workshops conducted by sustainable fashion influencers, including Brooklyn-based designer Mandy Kordal.
“Knowledge truly is power, and I want others to feel this same passion,” said Foust. “Being educated on sustainable fashion is something I aspire to share with as many people I come in contact with.”
In less than a year, the group has already gathered roughly 120 committed members. Anyone can join — even those who do not attend UC.
For more information, check out UC SFI’s Instagram, @sfi_cincinnati.