Annual Mercyhurst fashion show up-cycles used clothing into trendy attire

Emily Isbell

Inspired by today’s fascination with repurposing everything from toilet paper tubes to wine bottles — if you’re a fan of Pinterest, you’ll understand — Mercyhurst fashion merchandising students devised a plan to transform their annual fashion show into one that up-cycles gently used clothing into trendy attire.

The Refashion Fashion Show, organized by juniors and seniors in the major’s fashion promotion course, is slated for Thursday, May 2, at 8 p.m. in the Carolyn Herrmann Student Union.

Students chose the theme of “refashion” to emphasize one’s ability to “do what you can with what you have,” which is a common theme popularized by social media. Not only will students be repurposing old, borrowed and donated clothing, but they will also showcase garments made from unconventional materials like magazine paper.

“I’m most excited to see the whole event come together,” said junior Emily Adamski, a business major with a fashion merchandising minor. “Everyone in the class is working on separate tasks to pull this show together.”

Fashion students have been all hands on deck, from organizing the event, reconstructing the garments, collecting donations and marketing the show. The 13 students involved have also rallied more than 50 student-volunteers who will serve as models.

For Emily Isbell, a junior fashion merchandising major and marketing minor, this experience has solidified her desire to pursue a career in the advertising and promotion industry.

“Before this project, I didn’t realize how important the marketing and advertising aspect was,” she said. “Working as a team to organize this event has given us valuable experience. It has shown me how each step of event preparation is important.”

The show will emphasize four themes divided into separate acts: “Local Treasures,” “T-shirt Transformations,” “DIY Fashion” and “Garbage to Gorgeous.” Wearable garments will be donated to The Caring Closet, a nonprofit organization that provides clothing assistance for families in need in Erie County. Ticket proceeds from the show will also benefit The Caring Closet.

In addition to Adamski and Isbell, the following students are collaborating on the project: Isabella Cardina, Gage Carrig, Anna Foll, Ava Hlad, Anna Hoover, Erin Knepper, Jazmyne Lewis, Leanne Robinson, Maximilian Schroeck, Valeria Silva Esteves and Allison Voltz.

Tickets are $3 for adults and $1 for students and will be available at the door. For more information, contact Erin Magorien at 814-824-2510 or


PHOTO: Emily Isbell

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