Rags to Runway Challenge
Rags to Runway Challenge is one of the events at Victoria Eco Fashion Week managed and organized by a local non-profit program called Sewlution.
Local designers are challenged to apply their skills towards the creative use of textiles and other reusable materials. They were challenged to make a garment using only repurposed, and recycled materials, and incorporate an unusual and innovative approach to design. The participants are allowed to choose their choice of garment, it can be a dress, costume, gown, etc. But the creations should be wearable, artistic, and must create WOW effect. Sounds exciting, isn't it?
Sewlutions program is sewing based program for immigrant and other marginalized women of the Greater Victoria area. The program that we launched in February 2016 was mainly driven by the realization that Victoria and CRD in general did not have many options for meaningful engagement for many immigrant women facing isolation and marginalization. This is especially true for the older women, those that have small children and those that do not have marketable skills or language capacity.
The main purpose of this program is to offer immigrant/refugee, and marginalized women the opportunity to learn new skills, spend time more meaningfully, socialize, practice the English language, exchange their culture and promote acceptance and integration. Sewlutions provides a safe and comfortable place where even women facing cultural barriers can participate and socialize without fear or stigma.
The secondary goal of the Sewlutions program is to support immigrant and refugee women and their inclusion and integration into the labour market and the community in order to reduce poverty, promote self-sufficiency, and development of personal and professional skills. We do this by offering small scale training in sewing and related skills, but also other transferable skills such as market skills, communication skills, workplace culture etc. all of which can be used to potentially generate work and income for some of the participants.
1. SOCIAL SEWING –ongoing once a week
Drop in based sewing sessions and social gathering. The intent of this activity is to offer a free of charge use of the equipment, tools and supply for women to work on their own projects with support from facilitators and volunteers. While doing this women practice their language, socialize and learn about each other.
2. “FLAG BAGS” project: Bags made of up-cycled flags and banners – ongoing once a week
The goal of this project is to develop a line of shopping/market or corporate/promo bags from old banners and flags, and to connect to relevant business and retailers in the community to secure a contract for larger quantity of bags to be either sold at the stores or custom made for the businesses-including their logo on the bags. This is a potential revenue source for the program, and a way to gain recognition and support in the community.
3. BASIC SEWING Training Program- runs in cycles, as needed
The program consists of 8 sessions of 3 hours each with a primary focus on basic sewing training to provide participants with the skills to operate a sewing machine and serger and to acquire basic sewing techniques.
4. OTHER ACTIVITIES
Such as workshops in different skills in craft, art, DIY and upcycling.