My biggest contribution in strengthening my community engagement is through my establishment and implementation of the Sustainability Project. I decided to start a service group which intertwines fashion and recycling as a way to push my passion for fashion beyond myself and add a service component as a way to tackle environmental issues. This started with my Personal Project in Grade 10 which was about upcycling used clothing. I decided to take it a step forward and started a club for people who are interested in fashion and design to express their talents in a sustainable way.
Especially living in Japan where the concern for waste product accumulation is overlooked and the act of reusing and recycling is not very common, I thought that the actions taken by the group would be very meaningful. In relation to fashion, there are many cheap fast fashion industries towering the streets of Tokyo and Yokohama. For people who have grown up in an environment as such, I think that educating the students at YIS about the harm of textile waste is a very effective way for students to start thinking critically about the fashion industry and what they buy.
As a way to take action to spread awareness about the issues with fast fashion and the importance of sustainability, the group decided to conduct an activity at Food Fair to appeal to a larger audience. We decided to use old clothing and fabric ranging from table clothes to curtains to someone’s little brother’s cargo pants as a base for bandana making. As a skill taught to us last year in design, we decided to incorporate stenciling as well. Bringing a creative aspect into the project really appeals to a wider audience both older and younger. By running this bandana making activities at the Food Fair, we were able to inform people of what we are doing as a group and also hopefully made an impact on some of our guests to also start thinking critically about waste accumulation and possibly decline the next plastic bag offered to them while their running their shopping errands.
In a community where the act of recycling is only vaguely known and even more sparsely done, creating ideas and carrying these ideas out to promote sustainability in both fashion and beyond is the first step to start bringing the strain off of our environment. The slight changes in people’s lives that we can push without having them sacrifice the quality of life they are living, is the goal that I am hoping to achieve or at least begin to push forward.
As a next step for our group, we are planning to move away from the idea of just fashion and spread out a little more into what we can change in the community of YIS. For an example, we are planning to look more into the issue with plastic bottles and promote the use of individual bottles from home. Therefore, I feel as though as the leader for the sustainability project, stimulating the small acts is part of my responsibility to engage in the community.
Sustainability Project – Bandana Making at Food Fair