Formal thrifty school theme as students borrow, swap and buy outfits in the name of sustainable fashion

Can you imagine wearing the same suit your dad wore for his 21st birthday to your school ceremony?

In regional Victoria, some students borrowed, swapped and shopped to make a statement about fast fashion and climate change.

After missing many school age rites of passage during the pandemic, one school held a different dance.

Grade 11 students at Emmanuel College scoured op shops, their parents’ and grandparents’ wardrobes, and swapped outfits for their very first upcycled dance.

The thrifty theme invented by the students was also to tackle fast fashion, a growing threat to the environment.

The students scoured their parent’s ops stores and wardrobes and swapped outfits.(Provided)

One of the students behind the project, Paige Armistead, wore a green dress from her mother’s wardrobe.

“After missing many events such as the 10th grade ceremony due to COVID, it was great to get back to grade level and have some fun,” she said.

“We wanted to make it formal in a way that supports our environment.

“From there we came up with the theme of recycling. A lot of people buy stuff online, wear it once and don’t wear it again. We wanted to reduce waste and keep it sustainable.”

The kids adopted ’60s ruffles and ’70s fur coats, and one student wore the brown suit his dad wore on his 21st birthday.

Young man poses smiling in a brown vintage suit.
George Stevens wore his father’s 21st birthday suit to his school dance.(Provided: George Stevens)

With the rising cost of living impacting families’ incomes, the students also wanted to make the event more affordable.

“We had kids come in their parents’ costumes and their moms’ dresses, it was really cool,” Paige said.

Young people have missed many coming-of-age events in the last two years of the pandemic, such as school ceremonies, sports carnivals, debutante balls and musicals.

Four young men are smiling in suits.
Young people have missed many coming-of-age events during the pandemic.(Provided)

But these students don’t dwell on what they’ve lost and are making the most of the time they yearn to spend together.

“It was so nice to get back together after everything we’ve been through, we’ve been so far apart,” Paige said.

She said they hoped to continue the theme at their 12th grade ceremony.

“We might see some wedding dresses, who knows? »

About Renee Williams

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