VCAD Teams up With Value Village to Highlight Sustainable Fashion on the Runway at Eco Fashion Week

Eco Fashion Week kicked off its 10th Edition in Vancouver last week with one of the most highly anticipated events, the VCAD 81lbs Challenge presented by Value Village.

Did you know the average North American disposes approximately 81 pounds of clothing each year a drastic 13-pound increase from 2014 and only 15 per cent of that gets donated or repurposed? Teaming up with Value Village, the Visual College of Art and Design (VCAD) partnered with Eco Fashion Week to demonstrate just how much textile waste the average North American creates and how it can be repurposed through sustainable concepts such as rethink and reuse.

"The message we're trying to send is that you don't need to throw out all your clothing into a landfill, that you can repurpose it into something beautiful," said Fashion Design graduate and one of the participants of the 81-pound Challenge Dillon Hayes. "You don't always have to get rid of something."

Created entirely from dead stock items that never sold VCAD's fashion students were tasked with deconstructing and redesigning garments to create stunning new styles under the mentorship of their instructors. After six intensive weeks, what emerged was an original 30-piece collection inspired by the 1920s that captivated the entire audience and kept them in awe the entire night.

The upcycled collection, which features everything from day-to-day wear to evening gowns, illustrates just how imaginative repurposing clothing can be. One would never imagine that the glistening gold halter dress was once an unwanted sari, or that the chic embroidered black dress originated from what was once considered a passé pillowcase.

The evening ended with a powerful visual message. Entering the stage for their final walk, students instructed all models to carry a bundle of clothing an accumulation of 81 pounds in their hands to illustrate the sheer volume of textile waste created by an individual each year.

"Buy with a conscience," encourages Hayes. "Don't buy something because it's cheap. Buy one good article of clothing that will last longer."

Congratulations to Eco Fashion Week, Value Village, and VCAD's fashion students and instructors for undertaking such an immense challenge! For a complete set of looks from the runway, stay tuned to VCAD's Facebook page at

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