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From Thrift Store to Runway: Humber College Sustainable Fashion Show

June 11, 2024

The Salvation Army Thrift Store proudly collaborated with Humber College‘s Fashion Arts and Business students to bring to life MéCHANT, an avant-garde fashion show that combines creativity with sustainability. Guided by Tristin Williams, the Project Manager of Humber Fashion Show, the event was inspired by post-formalist painting, lyrical abstraction, and iconic 90’s Paris Fashion Week.

Students thrift shopping for runway outfits 1
Students thrift shopping for runway outfits 2

Each look featured in MéCHANT was meticulously crafted from items sourced from The Salvation Army Thrift Store’s Mississauga location, where thousands of new-to-you items are added daily to the salesfloor. “After assembling our styling team, we embarked on our first trip to Salvation Army Thrift Store to select our initial outfits,” says Tristin Williams. “Utilizing our models’ measurements and referencing specific sections and sizes, we efficiently curated clothes that aligned with our vision. Through several fittings, we refined our selections, honing in on the elements we liked and wanted to showcase in our presentation.”

A total of 17 looks were curated by the Humber’s fashion arts and business students. Fashion Stylist Allana Maniquiz shares her excitement about the collaboration, emphasizing the opportunity to showcase creativity and innovation within sustainable practices. “Through the lens of styling, I was pushed to see the potential in every garment regardless of its origin, condition, or established purpose. By reimagining the pieces, we were able to reduce waste but also celebrate the inherent value of each item. This experience has reaffirmed my love for shopping secondhand and encourages me to keep exploring unconventionality in fashion.”

Thrifted fashion runway outfit before
Thrifted fashion runway outfit after
Allana Maniquiz - Styling behind the scenes and runway look

According to Ted Troughton, Managing Director of The Salvation Army Thrift Store, the collaboration with Humber College aimed to showcase how secondhand fashion can be both accessible and aspirational. “We want to inspire our community members to make secondhand their first choice while supporting our mission of uplifting communities and preserving the planet.”

Tristin Williams echoes this sentiment, highlighting the strong commitment to sustainability that The Salvation Army Thrift Store upholds. “We believe that today’s consumers are increasingly focused on sustainability and are more inclined to thrift, so we aimed to showcase the diversity of thrifted clothing through a high-fashion perspective.”

As we celebrate the creativity and sustainability showcased at MéCHANT, we invite you to join us in making secondhand your first choice. Explore the fab finds in our stores and donate your household and clothing items you no longer need, knowing that you are empowering us to continue uplifting communities and preserving the planet, one fashionable find at a time.

Photos: Fiona Vandermyden (@effervescent_productions) and Yash Patel (@yp.photos).