Model Linh Tran wears one of the dresses designed by Amira Strain for her Salvage Couture fashion show on Sunday, May 13. PHOTO COURTESY AMIRA STRAIN

Salvage Couture: Alberni student’s fashion show comes with a message

Fashion show opens Sunday, May 13 at Char’s Landing

A unique fashion show at Char’s Landing on Sunday, May 13 will be a celebration of upcycled material and diversity.

Salvage Couture is a project put together by Alberni District Secondary School student Amira Strain that aims to bring awareness to the harms of fast fashion and the effect it has on the environment.

Students in Anne Ostwald’s Social Justice 12 class each have to come up with a final project for the end of the year, and Strain was inspired by the waste that she saw in fashion shows.

“I thought I could probably make stuff you’d find on an haute couture runway out of stuff I find at the thrift store,” she said. “I wanted to destroy the idea that fast fashion is the way to go.”

The fashion show will feature 15 pieces made from material that would otherwise be thrown away—everything from evening gowns to hats made out of old doilies to a shirt made out of an old pair of jeans. Most of Strain’s materials came from a “scrap” bin at the Salvation Army, with clothes that could no longer be sold due to tears or stains.

“I got to have fun playing with all that stuff and trying to make it work,” said Strain.

Strain, who was raised on thrift store clothes, said the average shirt is worn about four times. “How can you make a difference to prolong the life of your clothes, without having to purchase a whole new wardrobe?” she wondered.

The project was a learning opportunity for Strain, who had only taken one sewing class previously. “I learned quite a lot on the technical side,” she laughed.

But she also learned a lot about the effect of the fashion industry on the environment. “I went into a mall the other day and thought, I can’t even go into these stores, knowing what they do,” she said.

Salvage Couture, which Strain described as a “moving art exhibit,” will feature models of all ages, sizes and genders, ignoring stereotypes that have played a role in fashion for decades.

“I wanted it to be a celebration of diversity,” said Strain. “I like to destroy the concept of gender and turn it on its head. I wanted to find a way that people walking in my show could express themselves without having to fit into a binary.”

The show will last just about an hour, with a little time for mingling and questions. Doors open at 2 p.m. Strain will also have art for sale. Entry to Salvage Couture will be by donation, with most donations covering the cost of the show. Strain said she chose Char’s Landing (4815 Argyle Street) as a location because she didn’t want a typical runway for her show.

“I wanted the models to be walking through people,” she said.

Instructor Anne Ostwald said Strain’s work has been “phenomenal” so far.

“She is very creative in everything she touches,” said Ostwald. “There’s a lot of work that goes into this. It’s not just making the clothes: it’s the planning, the writing, the advertising.”

“It was a fun way to express myself and my art,” said Strain.

As for Strain’s fashions, many of them will end up being reused by other students at an upcoming school dance, she said.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Port Alberni cyclist collides with passing car

Cyclist received minor injuries

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations receive grants to bring ancestors’ remains home

Grants are part of the Royal B.C. Museum’s new repatriation program

Get ready for a week of sunshine across Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is forecasting temperatures in the high teens all this week

North Island Tour De Rock rider Benjamin Leah leads team to Port Hardy

“You don’t have issues and problems when you look at these kids and how much they’re going through.”

Alberni’s McLean Mill Society looking for a new direction

Society held a public input meeting at historic site

Live bear cam: Let the fishing begin

Watch bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park catch their dinner live.

Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

It’s the first moon after the autumn equinox

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

North Island Midget Eagles bit by Alberni Valley Bulldogs, hammer Nanaimo Clippers

It was a bit of an up and down rollercoaster ride of a weekend for the North Island Midget Eagles.

Appeal pipeline decision but consult Indigenous communities, Scheer says

The federal appeals court halted the Trans Mountain expansion last month

Hack sends malicious emails from Alberni School District

Tofino and Ucluelet residents urged not to click on attachment.

B.C. electric vehicle subsidy fund drains faster than expected

Province adds another $10 million to incentive fund

Most Read