Students Add Unique Touches to Returning River + Stone Apparel
Students upcycled past River + Stone apparel to create new and original designs that will be sold in The Collective by MPorium’s upcoming edit. All sales from the upcycled products will be donated to a local charity, The Hudson Valley Textile Project.
“Upcycling is basically taking old styles, making them new again and giving them a new look. Sometimes it’s combining old clothing with vintage clothing,” Rebecca Castellani ‘19 said. Along with students from the MPorium class and the Ethical Fashion Initiative, Castellani helped coordinate an event on March 26 for students to upcycle previous River + Stone styles.
The goal of the event was to transform previous River + Stone apparel into styles students have never seen. During the event students had access to past River + Stone products, clothing from goodwill and other accessories to incorporate into their designs. Students could also color their work by using natural vegetable dye.
“It’s an outlet to be creative and different,” Sara Craft ‘19 said, explaining the reasons she wanted to get involved with the event. “I’m also into sustainability and it’s super important. I take the class and highly recommend it for people, even if they’re not fashion majors.”
Similarly, Julia MacNair ‘22 participated in the event because she is a fashion major and is also passionate about sustainability. MacNair has her own upcycling business through which she promotes and sells upcycled products on Instagram. “Upcycling is important because a lot of people don’t know how damaging clothing can be and the fashion industry in general. The dyes end up polluting waters and it can be a huge form of waste. The average person throws away pounds of textiles every year,” MacNair said.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 12.7 million tons of textiles end up in landfills each year in the United States alone. Victoria Medlicott ‘20, the president of the Ethical Fashion Initiative explained upcycling helps combat textile waste by prolonging the life of garments.
“The fashion industry is actually really destructive. The dye from clothing goes into rivers and hurts the ecosystems and there can be awful working conditions,” Medlicott said. Upcycling can prevent pollution and more clothing in landfills. Medlicott also encourages students to trade clothing with friends or use Rent the Runway to update wardrobes while still limiting purchases. “Upcycling makes sure we’re not taking more from the environment,” Medlicott said.
In addition to helping the environment, upcycling gives life to old clothing by transforming its original look. By utilizing their skills like sewing and design, students were able to revamp previous River + Stone styles. “Something that is made with hard work forces people to look at the true value,” Craft said. The upcycled garments display students’ personal touches and are now one of a kind pieces. “Everyone is used to buying something for $5 at Forever 21 which ends up in the garbage,” Craft said. “It is important for people to see a story rather than just a garment.”
By upcycling previous styles, Castellani believes this will be a fun way to reintroduce River + Stone to Marist College. “I think it’s cool because it’s all the styles we’ve already seen, but in a new way,” Castellani said. Currently River + Stone is under new development but plans are in the process to slowly reintroduce it. “We were taking a step back to see how it [River + Stone] could be the best it could be,” Castellani said.
“I think people really miss River + Stone and students will be excited to see new styles,” Medlicott said. “It’s really cool that classmates have upcycled them and made them new.”