The 81 pound challenge: Creating fabulous fashion from discarded duds
Ross McLaughlin and Sandra Hermiston, CTV Vancouver
Published Wednesday, April 12, 2017 6:00AM PDT
The average North American throws out about 81 pounds of clothes per year.
But that tremendous waste is what sparked the Eco Fashion Week’s signature 81-Pound Challenge, which tasks fashion designers with crafting collections from pre-loved clothes from Value Village.
Project Runway Canada winner Evan Biddell was asked to take part in this year’s challenge and create something fabulous out of a year’s worth of discarded clothing.
“I wanted to like embrace the old clothes and feature the old clothes and just update them almost," explained Biddell.
“You have to cut it apart from its bones. It's almost like you're harvesting."
A kitshy, old fleece blanket that’s morphed into a funky sweater or a trench coat redesigned into some wide-legged pants, Biddell is giving new life to old clothes.
"First I would put a fur sleeve on a jacket, then I took the bottom of a coat and sewed the bottom as a skirt,” said Biddell, "Now it's like a cute little mini skirt and a cropped little jacket right."
From painted boots, to evening dresses, to fringed leather jackets, the exhibition features 24 looks made from quality materials found off the racks of Value Village.
“I guess that’s why he won Project Runway,” joked an impressed Steff Boychuck, Value Village retail sales manager.
Stylist Ellen Balsevich was part of the team too, turning plastic dishes and trinkets into this elaborate jewelry.
The collection is on display at the Museum of Vancouver until April 17. Biddell says he’d also love to open a special fashion section at Value Village.
"That would be amazing,” said Boychuck. “Then customers would come in and have inspiration when they're shopping."
Above all, Biddell wants people to re-think the way they buy and throw away clothes.
"I feel like we hit the 81 pound mark and that's a lot of clothes,” he said. “So if that's how much we're throwing away we have to stop it. It's enough is enough right?"