Teenagers use old clothes to bring awareness for pricing

West Ranch student Young Kim, 17, and Valencia student Amy Kim, 17, (no relation) pose for a portrait at Global Prep Academy on the day of their first fashion show for their organization called Re(dress) on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Santa Clarita Valley teenagers are using their own voices and creative designs to bring awareness to the dangers of fast fashion and a consumerist culture.

Through her club Re(dress),Valencia High School senior Amy Kim, 17, is now combining her love of fashion with her passion for the environment and globalism.

Kim was inspired to start Re(dress) at Global Prep Academy in Valencia, after she read articles about the fashion industry and a documentary titled “The True Cost” which investigates who really pays the price for clothing.

“We read an article on how the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world and that stuck with me,” Kim said. “It’s all about finding a link between what we like to do and what’s in front of the scenes with what’s going on behind the scenes.”

Through Re(dress), Kim has had the ability to start a website and write blog posts about body image, diversity, age, labor and climate change in relation to the fashion industry.

“The most I’ve gotten out of this club are the writing and blogs behind it,” she said.

Kim’s overall goal with Re(dress) is to create a community of educated consumers and to reduce the mass production seen in the fashion industry.

The club has now grown to 20 members of fellow Santa Clarita Valley students passionate about the same topic.

West Ranch High School senior Young Kim, 17 — with no relation to Amy Kim — joined the club “mid-way through” because it combines everything he is interested in.

“I also saw the documentary about the issues and I liked the idea of taking old stuff and remaking things that people would wear and buy,” Young Kim said.  “It has had a big impact on my life, on my every day decisions.”

Friday night, the club’s work culminated with a fashion show full of donated items that the club’s leaders re-purposed to support “honest fashion.”

Amy Kim said they spent four months collecting donations and designing clothes with patchwork, scissors and sewing.

“The whole part of this show is to show the hidden side of fashion,” Amy Kim said.

Young Kim said the club used every piece of clothing they received and collaborated together to create the clothing designs.

“We both have our own distinct styles but it’s also along the same areas so we can have discussions of what does or doesn’t look good,” he said.

The Re(dress) fashion show also included presentations from other student-led clubs including Transparent Mirrors, Eco Friends and From Their First Breaths to discuss the topics of body image, the environment and human labor rights.

“A huge part of this is to make everyone feel like they belong here because that’s not always the case in the fashion world,” Amy Kim said.

At the end of the fashion show, Re(dress) members auctioned off their designs through a silent auction with all proceeds benefiting Labour Behind the Label, a non-profit benefit garment worker’s rights.

“We’re doing this because we want to,” Amy Kim said. “I don’t think I’m going to forget about this.”

As Amy Kim and Young Kim prepare for graduation this spring, they are looking for individuals to “pass the torch to” so they can continue the club, hold more fashion shows and inform more community members.

“It’s a perfect opportunity for other students looking to get involved,” Young Kim said. “We want everyone to be a part of this and pursue things with no limits.”

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