High school students discover sustainable fashion

Student designing a fashion garment.
A Big Red Summer Academic Camp participant designs her sustainable garment during the Discover Sustainable Fashion session hosted by the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design June 13-18.

High school students discover sustainable fashion

06 Jul 2021    

A recent summer camp at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln offered youth the opportunity to explore careers in the apparel industry and ways to create sustainable fashion. The Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design hosted seven high school students June 13 – 18, as part of Big Red Summer Academic Camps through Nebraska 4-H.

Big Red Summer Academic Camps are residential, career exploration camps held annually at the university. This was the first year the Discover Sustainable Fashion session has been offered. In addition to Nebraska, campers came from Colorado, Michigan and Kansas. The session was led by assistant professor and extension specialist Surin Kim, and assistant professor Sandra Starkey, and joined by various faculty and graduate students of the department.

Students learned about the impact of fashion and explored ways to create sustainable fashion during various faculty sponsored workshops, such as sustainable fashion and entrepreneurship, rapid prototyping, quilt making, block printing, garment upcycling and visual merchandising. A uniuqe hands-on experience involved turning trash to treasure. Camp participants created full size garments out of fabric scraps.

“I learned about sustainability in the fashion industry and how to put a garment sustainably with sewing and other techniques I learned, which will be useful for my career,” said Natalie Schmidt, a participant in the camp. “I also made new friends!”

Camp participants also visited local sustainable fashion businesses managed by alumni, met with the current university students, and got a behind the scenes tour of the International Quilt Museum.

“It was really great meeting with a business with upcycled clothing that is run by a graduate here, so I could see myself doing such a thing after the college,” said camp participant Polly Michaud.

After spending fun-filled days on- and off-campus, at the end of the camp participants' families were invited to the special capstone event in the department, where campers showcased all their projects made during the week.

To learn more about Big Red Summer Academic Camps, visit https://4h.unl.edu/big-red-camps.

College of Education and Human Sciences
Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design