Style Sensation | Senior creates clothes in sustainable way

Senior Yoon Ki has an eye for transforming seemingly old clothing into new chic pieces. By thrifting in stores and online, Ki found brands like Redone who remake vintage clothes. 

“It’s pretty cool because you can get fashionable pieces that are made by professionals,” Ki said. Shopping for upcycled pieces and creating her own new looks, Ki said she believes a fabric’s life far extends that in which most people utilize them for.

Fashion is an industry that’s constantly changing with new trends and fads coming and going at a rapid pace. Ki stressed that trends will always come and go, but that doesn’t mean clothing has to be thrown out. “I think it’s important not to fall into trends too much because trends are always passing really quickly. I think it’s important to find your own individual style and what fits you and what you like,” Ki said.

Taking a look at “fast fashion,” Ki said she believes always moving on to the next big thing means the environment is left to face the devastating repercussions. “It’s especially important right now when we’re constantly into buying new things and always having what’s hot. Especially with ‘fast fashion’ being so huge and coming from China and how fast these people can manufacture things. It’s not good for the environment,” Ki said.

Respecting the work that true designers do, Ki acknowledged that fashion is one of many forms of art. “I think a lot of things can be considered art, and I think that fashion is a part of art because you have to think a lot about not just like me putting on clothes, but think about all the people that had to go into the industry and make things for you to get to this point,” Ki said. “I just think about how many people had to go into it to create an article and a piece.”

Considering fashion as a unique form of art, Ki is disappointed in the big manufacturers who make clothes for quantity rather than quality. “That’s kind of another part of why I don’t like fast fashion because it’s just taking away from important things and people who spend their whole lives to create something and then they just steal an idea and make it cheap and fast,” Ki said. “They use a ton of resources to make really crappy cloths that you can wear like twice and then they unravel in the wash.”

Instead of purchasing cheap clothes for a quick trend, Ki said that quality fabrics can live a much lengthier life. Ki stressed that people can use clothes for multiple purposes when it’s out of fashion like making them into sleep shirts, table cloths and even rags. “Use it till the end of it’s life so that you’re not wasting the cloth,” Ki said. 

She said using fabrics for as long as possible is a great way to cut down on waste. “I think the amount of material it takes to make polyester cloth or acrylic or those really cheap fabrics that we use for clothing creates a lot of pollution. With the amount of waste we’re creating, we don’t want to create even more on top of that,” Ki said.

Realizing the much bigger problem, Ki understands that minimizing waste is a practice that can only begin when certain social standards change. “It’s important to realize that it’s not a bad thing to rewear outfits,” Ki said. “When we create this much waste in our world, especially with climate change, we don’t feel like we’re doing anything wrong because we’re just buying clothes, but we’re not seeing what goes behind it and what goes into it.”

An expert in thrifting, Ki shops local stores and also ventures to bigger cities like Des Moines to find the best pieces to upcycle. “I just find textiles and patterns that I really like and fabrics that I really like and things that are in pretty decent shape that I would realistically be able to alter because I’m not the most skilled person either and that’s what’s important,” Ki said. “You don’t have to be good at sewing to do this. For example, it can be something simple like taking a sweater dress and cutting it in half and now you have a cardigan and skirt set. It’s something simple like that.” 

Ki said that it doesn’t take expert sewing skills to upcycle clothing. “Just being able to hem your clothing is a lot. With your own clothes, you can constantly remake them,” Ki said. “You shouldn’t just throw your clothes away after a trend is over. You can reuse your clothes for so many different things. You can wear your clothes, and when you feel like it isn’t in fashion anymore, you can alter it to be in fashion again.”

Above all, Ki said she wants people to be comfortable in the clothes they wear and the styles they sport. It’s not always about a trend; it’s about finding the clothing that makes you feel like you. 

“Find yourself and be comfortable in yourself,” Ki said.

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