From dumpster to runway

The Just Bag It Fashion Show aims to raise awareness on sustainability and social justice within the fashion industry

More stories from Alyssa Anderson

Getting Weird
December 13, 2018


Participants from last year’s Just Bag It Fashion Show model runway-ready outfits made entirely from recycled, repurposed materials.

While looking at a giant pile of garbage, one rarely thinks anything besides “yuck!” However, a group of UW-Eau Claire students aim to prove that one man’s trash could very well be another man’s wardrobe.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday April 13 in the Ojibwe Ballroom in Davies, UW-Eau Claire will play host to the Just Bag It Fashion Show, a one-of-a-kind event geared to shed light on sustainability and social justice issues in order to teach the community how it can make a difference.

“The goal of this event is to promote sustainability and social justice in the fashion industry,” Ashley Pike, sophomore liberal studies student and intern for the Housing and Residence Life Sustainability Office, said. “We want to spread awareness about where our clothes come from at a social justice standpoint.”

This year’s show is comprised of a record number 13 teams of Eau Claire students, Pike said. Participating teams must design runway-ready outfits made entirely from recycled materials. Outfits will be judged on creativity, innovation, execution and quantity of materials used and presentation.

This year’s judges are Patricia Kleine, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, Beth Hellwig, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, and Crispin Pierce, associate professor and environmental public health program director and member of the Eau Claire Advisory Commission on Sustainability.

Winners will receive handmade trophies created by sculpture student Sarah Girard and cash prizes sponsored by the Student Office of Sustainability and the Housing Office of Sustainability, along with goodie bags donated by various campus and community organizations.

This year’s event is being pushed to the next level, Pike said.

In addition to the fashion, audience members will enjoy an appearance from the Blugold mascot, Blu, and performances by the Innocent Men during the judges’ deliberation.

Nevertheless, the event is more than just fun and games.

Professor Karen Mumford’s campus ecology class plans to present information about sustainability in the fashion industry in order to keep the educational and awareness aspects of the event, Pike said.

“This event is a great campus-wide collaborative and supportive event,” Pike said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Pike said with a record number of participants and an expected turnout of over 300 people, the Just Bag It Fashion Show promises to provide audience members with a unique, educational and overall fun experience.