Fashion Forward with Catwalk and The Pine School

Local students will rock the runway during Loggerhead’s Earth Day celebration in outfits they created from recycled materials

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A Pine School student works on a design. Photo courtesy of Resource Depot
A Pine School student works on a design. Photo courtesy of Resource Depot

The business of fast fashion has contributed to a global epidemic of textile waste. Besides eventually ending up in landfills, the mass production of clothing pollutes air quality, and whenever we do a load of wash, chemicals seep into our waterways. 

Gianna Gustave's Catwalk 2023 design sketch. Photo courtesy of Resource Depot
Gianna Gustave’s Catwalk 2023 design sketch. Photo courtesy of Resource Depot

For the past 12 years, local students have been learning how sustainable fashion can help alleviate the problem. Through Catwalk, a program run by creative reuse center the Resource Depot, middle and high school students are encouraged to use upcycled materials to design an outfit, a sort of green junior version of Project Runway. They enroll in workshops at Resource Depot, where they have access to instruction, sewing machines, tools, and materials.

“Catwalk changes the dialogue of what fashion could or should be, thinking more about our environment and reconsidering how things are made,” says Chelsea Odum, director of education and artist relations at Resource Depot. “It’s important to teach kids about sustainable fashion because they’re going to go into the workforce and make decisions in the future, so we need to start relaying that information to think differently.”

This year, Catwalk has partnered with Loggerhead Marinelife Center, and students will show off their creations at a fashion show during Loggerhead’s Earth Day celebration April 20. “Since 2013, Resource Depot has attended sustainability workshops at our junior marine biologists summer camp,” says Hannah Campbell, VP of education at Loggerhead. “That’s where the relationship grew, and I’m so glad it has bloomed into a full collaboration in 2024.” 

Catwalk 2022 designs on display in Resource Depot’s GalleRE. Photo courtesy of Resource Depot
Catwalk 2022 designs on display in Resource Depot’s GalleRE. Photo courtesy of Resource Depot

This year’s designs will tie into marine conservation. “I am encouraging the students to participate in Loggerhead’s beach cleanups,” says Odum. “They may want to use some of the reclaimed items from the beach in their designs.”

A Pine School student poses in her creation
A Pine School student poses in her creation.

Following Catwalk, the pieces will be displayed at Resource Depot’s GalleRE May 1 to June 8. Select outfits will then go to Loggerhead for their monthlong World Ocean Day celebration in June. 

In Hobe Sound, The Pine School runs its own similar program to teach kids about the importance of green fashion. At its annual Recycled Runway Fashion Show, students in grades K through 12 use recycled materials to design accessories, tops, bottoms, dresses, and more. “It is our goal to prepare students to navigate a complex and changing world,” says Emily Faehnle, director of fine arts at The Pine School. “Teaching students about the fashion industry, fast fashion’s environmental effects, and sustainable fashion is just a small part of that curriculum. Every year, the show is the culminating event in a series of Earth Week activities. We want to teach kids the importance of taking care of Earth and our environment.” 

This year’s runway show at The Pine School takes place April 26. 

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