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The Greeley Voice

The Greeley Voice

The Rebirth of Used Clothing in Chappaqua: ReFashion CCSD

Lucy Johnson
Refashion CCSD Donation Box

In March 2023, art teacher Mrs. Amanda McDonough presented a unit to her classes about waste in the fashion industry and highlighted the flaws of the clothing donation empire. Many clothes that are donated are often not able to be reused because they are too damaged; many of them end up in the garbage. “What becomes of clothing is small percentages are sold in markets and the majority lands up in landfills, causing mountains of synthetic clothing waste,” Mrs. McDonough explained. Through her lessons, Mrs. McDonough sought to help her students understand the consequences of today’s fast-paced fashion industry. The throwaway culture that is prevalent in society today creates enormous amounts of wasted clothes, making the fashion industry, according to GENeco, the second largest producer of pollution in the world. If something is not seen as “trendy” any more, it’s no longer suitable to wear.
Mrs. McDonough elaborated on the final destination of many donated clothes and said, “The fashion industry today moves so fast with new trends from social media, and in order to maintain that pace, fast fashion has popularized which eventually contributes to landfill.” After presenting to her students the complications of today’s industry and the clothing donation dilemma, fashion students were assigned to create a product with old materials they had at home.
Two students in particular were inspired to create something bigger. Senior Erin Bingham and sophomore Zoya Nabeel understood that they had the ability to use their knowledge and creativity to make a change. The students researched a project in New York City called Re-FashioNYC, which puts donation boxes throughout the city to collect clothes to be “refashioned,” the process by which old clothing is used to make new pieces, or given to those in need. This idea of creating new pieces with old materials offers a different path for clothes that are not donated or sold in second-hand shops, which can help to reduce waste. In their research, Nabeel and Bingham recognized that a program like Re-FashioNYC could benefit Chappaqua.
The students put their minds to work and came up with a similar idea of a donation box. Bingham described how students from different parts of Greeley’s art program came together to help work on the collection box. An AP 3D student took on the main construction role, a graphic design student worked on the logo, and two engineering students helped construct the box. Bingham said, “It really took a village to get our donation box together.” The collection box took six months to complete and was overflowing with donations by the end of Re-Fashion CCSD’s first drive in June. The program eventually collected more than five large bins of clothing to sort through.
Word of the donation box spread on social media. “I did a post on Facebook about the box” Mrs. McDonough said, “and soon everyone went crazy showing up with donations.” The donations will be used in part by fashion students when they need materials. The materials that are not used by fashion classes will be donated to local families in need of clothing. Nabeel explained that “a lot of the donations we got were of very good quality, some even brand new, so we want those garments to go to those who need them most.”
The donation box will not only help the environment by reducing the amount of new materials that the art department consumes, but it will also help the fashion program save money and grow in the future.
“Going to a school like Greeley,” Nabeel said, “you feel like everyone can afford the nicest clothes, but fast fashion is so prominent it will be nice to give materials a second life, and be able to donate to individuals who can’t afford or create this into brand new things or give them a second life.” The refashioned clothing that the program makes will go to local organizations such as Neighbors Link, and to individuals who cannot afford new clothing in possible future outreach programs.
In September, Re-Fashion CCSD made an appearance at the club fair. They plan to meet on blue activity days and work on sorting through donations and brainstorming new pieces. Club members will have the opportunity to file through the clothes, sketch designs and work on outreach and publicity. “Many people have the misconception that they have to have fashion or sewing skills to join our club, but that is not at all the case,” Bingham said, “we will find an important role for every student in Re-Fashion CCSD.” Re-Fashion CCSD is open to all students wanting to help their community through their love of creating.

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About the Contributors
Sophie Cook, Staff Writer
Sophie is a junior and has been a staff writer for the Greeley Voice for the past two years. In addition to the Greeley Voice, Sophie is a SADD executive.
Lucy Johnson, Director - Student Life
Lucy is a junior and the Student Life Director for the Greeley Voice. She has been writing for the Voice (formerly the Greeley Tribune) since her freshman year. She is also part of the Beach and Ocean Protection Club. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and dogs.

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