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Socially conscious fashions at Yellowquill

By Svjetlana Mlinarevic, The Graphic

This Thursday, Yellowquill students will prove that one can be fashionable and socially responsible at the same time.


For the first time, the school’s social justice committee will host a fair trade fashion show, which aims to raise awareness about fair trade and the consequences of having developing nations clothe North Americans.

“Kids like us work instead of going to school because their parents don’t have enough money. They work and farm the cotton for our clothes and they (sew it) and they don’t get enough money,” said Camille Sanderson, who is co-directing the production with Randi Roy.

“I think in your childhood you should have a little bit of freedom and not be working because you need to learn — working prevents that,” added Roy.

The committee got the idea for a fashion show while at a Manitoba Council for International Co-operation (MCIC) conference in January. MCIC helps youth develop leadership skills using social justice issues.

The committee received $500 from their student council and rented a $100 fair trade fashion kit from MCIC.

The kit contains 44 items that can be made into varying outfits.

During the fashion show, a powerpoint presentation will be shown to teach the audience about ethical fashion.

“I think they will look at their labels and ask themselves who made this. Their eyes will be open hopefully because of our fashion show,” said Roy.

“I think the kids in our school won’t take for granted what they have after this,” added Sanderson.

For MCC manager Kevin Hamm, news of the fashion show comes as a welcomed surprise.

“That’s wonderful to hear what they’re doing,” said Hamm.

Hamm has been lobbying council and local retailers for Portage to become the first fair trade city in Manitoba.

“We’re hoping to remind city council sometime soon, before the election, about the process and update them on where things are at. I know Brandon is taking large steps to become a fair trade city,” he said.

One important point the social justice committee wants to stress regarding the fashion show is that it’s all about making smarter choices.

“We’re not saying that you should never go out and buy any of the (non-fair trade) clothes, but I think the idea is that, if you’re shopping somewhere and you have a choice between two items, that you’ll consider (buying) the fair trade item,” said social justice teacher Naomi Harley.

Yellowquill’s fair trade fashion show will premiere on April 17 at 6 p.m. at the school.

A silver collection will be held to support the social justice committee in its programming.

Twitter: @PDGSvjetlana 

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