The 68 pound challenge is an awesome part of the Vancouver Eco Fashion Week. 68 pounds is the amount of clothing and textiles the average North American throws away every year! This season designer Carlie Wong took up the challenge, creating a full designer collection using upcycled clothing from Value Village.
For the 68 pound challenge, the designer has to pick 68 pounds of fabric to work with from unsellable items at Value Village. These are known as the rag-offs. The rag-offs are the items that have been on the floor for awhile and are not selling. They can be clothing, tablecloths, curtains or linens. The designer then deconstructs the rag-offs and reshapes them by mixing and matching.
This season’s designer was Carlie Wong, who designs gorgeous, couture evening wear. Carlie has become an established designer after featuring on season 1 of Project Runway Canada. For the 68 pound challenge she was tasked to create a 20 piece collection from 68 pounds worth of rag-offs at Value Village. For her collection Carlie stayed true to herself and scoured the rag-offs for black fabrics with high-end texture and shine.
Each of the pieces in Carlie’s all black evening wear collection was created from 4-5 upcycled garments. The 68 pound challenge is intense, Carlie had only 6 weeks to select her materials and design, sew, fit and show 20 different looks.
Carlie’s collection had a bold and feminine appeal, featuring a tuxedo dress, high-slit skirt, peekaboo dress and leather and lace crop tops. Carlie says that a 20 look collection would normally take 6 months, not 6 weeks to create. Given limited resources and material constraints she still wanted to create a collection true to her own design style.
I was trying really hard for it to be a collection that I would do regardless of the fact that it was made from recycled materials.
In order to find the right materials, Carlie scoured the rag-offs 4-5 times at various Value Village stores. Ideas for the pieces were inspired by her resourcefulness. For example, a jacket was reversed front to back to turn into the bust of a dress.
People who don’t shop at thrift stores might be surprised at the high end, perfectly tailored looks that Carlie Wong achieved. We think that successful thrift shopping is all about having an open mind. This is what Carlie says:
My advice is to stick to your aesthetic and do what you know. Going into a Value Village and looking through piles of junk is very overwhelming. Sticking to what you know and going with your gut feeling works best.
Source: Eco Fashion Week