Reduce, Reuse, REVAMP!

Elliot Olsen, H2O “Help to Others” high school volunteer, is offering examples on how to minimize the environmental impact of clothing production AND have fun with fashion. She is walking proof that second-hand purchases can be an inexpensive gateway to self-expression, and it’s something that is also deeply meaningful to her:

“Did you know that the fashion industry alone releases more carbon emissions than all global flights and maritime combined? All around the world, energy and resources are being used up to mass-produce cheap clothing in response to trending fashion. It takes 3,000 liters of water to produce a single cotton shirt. Not only that, but when the current trends are replaced by new ones, many people won’t think twice about throwing out their old clothes and buying newer, trendy clothing, thus repeating the cycle. That’s a lot of waste, and it’s taking a toll on our planet. So what can we do to try and offset that?

Many people fail to see the potential that second-hand and thrifted clothing has. Instead of sitting in a landfill, this clothing is being given a second chance. It’s an opportunity to save money and the environment– but it’s also a great way to get creative. There are tons of ways you can take an old t-shirt and turn it into something cool and fashionable. While it may seem like just an old shirt and not really something you think could fit your individual style, try to look at the shirt in a new way. By painting, dyeing, sewing, or cutting the shirt, you can turn it into a one-of-a-kind piece of art that you can wear!

Maybe you’re thinking, ‘I’m not much of an artist.’ You don’t need to be a trained professional to customize clothing; you don’t even have to have any experience with art. There are so many ways to make a piece of clothing your own, even novices can create something really cool. Plus, you can help inspire others to do the same when they ask, ‘Where’d you get that amazing shirt?’ Reusing old clothing is more sustainable, more cost-effective, and more creative than fast fashion, so instead of throwing out your old clothes and buying a fresh batch of mass-produced clothing, consider donating those clothes, or revamping them to give them new life in your closet! Even if you can’t use them, someone else can– just like you can discover your new favorite outfit from a thrift store or garage sale. Sustainable fashion is how we can all help save our planet.

Elliot Olson is a 17-year-old artist living in Lakewood. She has had a mix of formal art education and self-taught learning, though much of her passion for art comes from her art-centered upbringing and long time exposure to all different mediums of art.

Much of her artistic inspiration comes from being raised around comics and monsters. She draws a lot of inspiration from horror and fantasy themes. Her favorite mediums are drawing and customizing clothing. She’s particularly passionate about sustainable fashion and enjoys expressing her style with wearable art. In addition, she also likes to read, watch horror movies, and roller skate. In the future, she plans to pursue a career in graphic design.

The items she customized were all taken from H2O “Help to Others” Clothing Drive. There are THOUSANDS and thousands of items for sale on July 23rd, 9:00-3:00, with a half hour break at noon for reorganization. The sale is at Garfield Middle School and each item is just FIFTY CENTS! Please call 216-529-6045 with questions.

Elliot Olsen, H2O “Help to Others” high school volunteer

H2O is a youth volunteer program sponsored by the City of Lakewood’s Division of Youth Office. H2O receives tremendous support from the Lakewood City Schools, the Lakewood Foundation, generous donors and a dedicated group of adult volunteers.

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Volume 18, Issue 14, Posted 7:00 PM, 07.20.2022