Workshop shows participants how to repurpose clothes

By Jalen Cobb

NIU is providing creative opportunities for students to learn about fashion.

The latest production of the NIU Art Museum is a clothing workshop, which helps people recycle and reuse their worn out clothes. “The purpose is to repurpose and recycle in part to show people how to recycle and reuse their wardrobe, and also feel empowered by redesigning their own clothing,” said NIU alumna Erin Coleman-Cruz, assistant at the NIU Art Museum and creator of the clothing rebirth workshop.

Redesigning your old wardrobe can provide fashionable and runway-ready options.

“Repurposing clothes is something people should do because it’s not wasting, rework them for your own good instead of wasting,” said Trent Lovejoy, an attendee at the workshop.

To stop from wasting clothes, there is always the option to give to the less fortunate, or reuse them to make new fashionable items.

“People are definitely more into repurposing clothing and recycling older styles. Eighties-inspired clothing and wearing vintage styles are popular trends, but you see people putting modern twists on these revamped styles,” Coleman-Cruz said.

“All clothes kind of come back, which is why vintage clothing is really popular,” Lovejoy said. “Vintage is simple but can also be technical… it appeals to people.”

The complexity and universal appeal of fashion is what makes it such a personal canvas for people.

“Contemporary art work and relating to clothing through metaphorical expression is how people relate to clothing,” said Peter Olson, assistant director of NIU Art Museum.

Fashion means different things depending on the person, Coleman-Cruz said.

“Clothing is very political, we are all united through clothing,” she said. “Our clothing sets us apart or bring us together – it’s important to our identity.”

The NIU Art Museum will also host “Autumn Leaves: A Century of Fall Fashion” through Dec. 4 in the Rotunda Gallery. According to the museum’s website, the exhibit “celebrates the particularly rich and sumptuous fabrics and ornamentation of ladies’ fall fashion displayed decade by decade side by side with historic events of the autumn season.”