Interested in seeing creativity combine with environmental awareness?

In celebration of Earth Day, Whole Foods Market has teamed up with students from the University of the Incarnate Word’s Fashion Management Department and Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas to put on an Eco Fashion Show. From noon to 1 p.m. April 22, 20 striking outfits created from recycled bags and banners (and prominently displaying the WF logo) will be showcased at the Whole Foods Market in the Quarry. The one-of-a-kind articles of clothing will be displayed on mannequins in the store through April 25. All apparel from the earth-friendly collection will be on sale via silent auction, which ends at 9 p.m. on April 26. Proceeds benefit the Green Spaces Alliance.

A nonprofit focused on land preservation, public education, and community-garden networking, Green Spaces has shown marked success. During 2008, the organization played a part in preserving 20,000 acres of land that protected water quality and quantity in Bexar and surrounding counties. The alliance’s primary goal for 2009 is to establish more community gardens, which allow neighborhoods to grow their own groceries and save precious inner-city and suburban open land.

The materials used in the recycling-inspired fashion project may look familiar — they’re Whole Foods’ Better Bags, donated by the environmentally conscious store. Each Better Bag, made from roughly four 20-ounce plastic bottles, is said to last long enough to take the place of approximately 1,000 single-use plastic bags. With 4 million of the bags and counting sold to Whole Foods customers, it seems the public is catching on. 

The project was initiated by Whole Foods’ Suzy Holleron, who contacted Dr. Melinda Adams at UIW to see if the fashion deparment’s students were interested. Freshmen through seniors designed and created the outfits over the course of a month in a myriad of styles and sizes. Adams said that most sizes were based on the fashion students themselves, "so there aren’t just the teeny, tiny ones," and that models for the show include students in the program, friends of the students, and volunteers. The students’ advisor said of the eco fashions that "some are very functional, some not so much" and added that working with the material was "a little bit challenging at first," but that students quickly learned to work with the recycled materials.

Holleron said the show came together organically, “seeing how it’s Earth day, seeing how `Whole Foods` recycles.”

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