Students showcase Sustainable Fashion at COCC
In honor of Earth Day, students, staff and Clothing Connection volunteers took to the runway to model various outfits the community donated. Angie Cole and Kim Vierra hosted the show on April 21 at the Central Oregon Community College campus in Bend.
The Clothing Connection is a partnership between COCC and Oregon State University Cascades available to all students. The purpose is to provide free clothing for any occasion students may need professional or casual. Students and staff can take up to 10 free items each term.
“The Clothing Connection is an uplifting way to take care of our planet,” said Cole.
In the second annual fashion show, the hosts explained why sustainable fashion matters and how The Clothing Connection has impacted the students’ lives. The Clothing Connection has allowed students to focus more on academic pursuits by removing some financial burden.
“The fashion show has allowed us to raise awareness of our resources and to demonstrate the importance of sustainable fashion,” said Cole and Vierra.
Models wore donated clothing from The Clothing Connection. The show featured three local Bend resale shops, Truffle Pig Trading Co., Revival Vintage and Nikkis Nearly New.
The store partnered with the sustainability groups at COCC and OSU Cascades campuses. Nothing that is donated to the store goes to waste. Vierra said even the clothes which are donated with holes or stains in them, are useful in COCC and OSU Cascade student art classrooms.
“Shopping with intention and wearing gently used items is just one way to support the planet,” said Cole.
Cole, Associate Professor of Education at COCC, and Vierra, Instructor in the College of Business at OSU Cascades, came together for a common purpose.
Cole started a free clothing resource store in 2015 in an unused faculty office to help education students dress for job opportunities. Vierra brought “Benny’s Closet,” a thrift store made by OSU students in Corvallis to the Bend OSU Campus. They later brought their ideas together to create The Clothing Connection which opened in Fall 2022.
“We rely on volunteers and word of mouth to keep The Clothing Connection open,” said Cole. Getting the word out to the community is extremely important for keeping the store open.
For more information about The Clothing Connection, location, store hours, donation and clothing request forms click here.