STATEMENT Spring 2019

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we are the future of the fashion industry and it is up to us to create a suatainable future for all. The smallest of actions hold the largest of impact. Every step that you take towards a more sustainable life is a glimpse of hope for a sustainable future.

State ment mercyhurst university spring 2019

table of contents

04. Sustainable Instagram Gals Eco-Age:Providing Sustainable 05. Consultance in London 07.

Five Ways to be a More Sustainable Shopper Sustinability is the New Statement

09. & Dispose the 12. Consume Right Way 15. Why I Choose to be Sustainable Alumni Spotlight: Kerrie 17. Rosenheck at Burberry 01.

letters from the editors I

t feels like yesterday that I received an email indicating that I had been chosen for the position of co-editor of STATEMENT. Fast foward two years later and here I am editing the pages of my last issue. I am so grateful for the friends I have made, as well as the opportunities I have been given throughout my time working with the magazine. A special thank you to Jen and my co-editor MacKenzie. None of this would have been possible without either of you! I am honored to be a part of such an inspiring and powerful spring issue which focuses on such a critical issue within the fashion industry. Our wish is that these pages will inspire you to make a change in your lifestyle and improve the future of both our planet and our industry. Let our sustainable lifestyles be a STATEMENT. -Briana Harrison


am so thankful to have had the privilege to work alongside Briana on this year’s STATEMENT editions. She has provided me with so much inspiration both in terms of design and content. Both editions this year have gone beyond the surface of traditional fashion and spoke of imperative topics. Fashion frequently inspired me with its endless array of creativity. However, my experience with Briana has inspired me to highlight the aspects of the industry that use its platform to support important causes. Thus, for this spring issue we both agreed on unveiling the significance of sustainable fashion and how it can become obtainable for every fashion follower. We are looking forward to shedding light on such a meaningful topic. I believe that the fashion industry is capable of making substantial differences, with enough people supporting an important cause, it can make a real STATEMENT. -MacKenzie Lewis


what are you wearing


he big question that buzzes around every red carpet event, “Who are you wearing,” where everyone is dying to know which designers were chosen by celebs to create their stunning, one-of-akind gowns. As times are changing, and celebrities like Emma Watson are advocating for eco-friendly fashion, the bigger question peeking through the horizon may actually be: “What are you wearing?” I got the chance to test this new theory out in Global Trends, a fashion course taught by Ashlee Rzyczycki. One of the projects we worked on was centered around everything that goes into the lifecycle of a garment. The assignment allowed us to pick one piece of clothing from our closets and literally dissect it from start to finish. After debating long and hard for which garment out of my own closet would be the most rewarding, I decided on a faux fur jacket. It was a trendy piece that I ordered online from ASOS, a wellknown British fast fashion brand. I started my journey with the tag. Although I bought the jacket from ASOS, the tag actually said Vero Moda. With some more research, I found that Vero Moda was a brand owned by parent company Bestseller. It was a family-owned company founded in Denmark in 1975, and sells over 20 fast fashion brands to men, women, teens, and children across the globe. With one look at Bestseller’s website, I truly thought I picked the best garment in the class. The About webpage of the corporation’s site displays texts and graphics depicting sustainability. Currently the first thing that pops up states, “Bringing fashion forward until we are climate positive, fair for all, and circular by design.” With the recent discovery I really thought I was set, until I began to do more outside research. I soon found that the company was rated as either a C or D when it came to sustainable and transparent efforts.


` At the time I was conducting this project, Bestseller had 20 goals they wanted to achieve by 2020. However, a year later and their strategy is now completely different, and titled Fashion FWD: Bringing Sustainable Fashion Forward, where they now have different small and medium-term goals to achieve by 2025. Many articles I read gave Bestseller such low reviews because they made minimal effort to change. In other words, it was easier to say they were sustainable than to actually carry through with it. Beyond just the brand itself, the fiber content of the garment was just as dreadful, made of 100% polyester. For those who don’t know, the creation of polyester is rather toxic because it’s derived of chemicals like petroleum (which is the #1 pollutant worldwide). It’s also known to waste and pollute water, as well as, contaminate the air, during any of the dyeing processes. Once the solution is made, it’s spun into yarn which is then made into the fabric we wear on our bodies (already at least three damaging steps have taken place before we even wear it). Worst of all, polyester is not biodegradable; some forms of polyester can take up to 200 years to decompose. Polyester is the most widely used synthetic fiber in the fashion industry, and perhaps the most environmentally deadly. I can’t lie and say I got rid of every clothing item in my closet and replaced them with organic cotton tees, linen dresses, and recycled wool sweaters after discovering this rather “dark side” of fashion. I did think about it though, but quickly realized by sending my fast fashion clothes over to Goodwill or throwing them away, they would ultimately end up in a landfill within the next few months.So I made the best decision in a not-so-great situation, and decided to keep the majority of my closet (including the faux fur jacket), but just make better efforts moving forward. LEXI CRUSCIEL

s l a g


If you are anything like me, you may realize the importance of sustainable and ethical fashion, but not know exactly where to start. Luckily for us, there are blogs for everything anymore. Following these sustainable fashion leaders are a fun way to learn more about ethical fashion and how it can be achieved.


From Queensland, Australia, Hannah Klose is the thrift shopping master. Her Instagram page overflows from stunning steals found at local thrift shops. From head to toe, Klose shows off her thrift finds and displays the brand of each product and how much she paid for it. If saving that much money, while still looking that good isn’t convincing enough to shop second hand, Klose lists five reasons why to never ever pay retail. Within her “About” page on her blog, Klose lists five thoughtful reasons to never pay retail, which include: do it for the planet, do it for charity, do it for the workers, do it for your wallet, and do it for your wardrobe.



Rachel Cole is another fashion and beauty blogger that stresses the importance of dressing sustainably and shows how effortless it can be. Like Hannah Klose, Cole too thrifts instead of paying for retail. However, Cole often discusses on her social media the importance of slowing down fashion and investing in higher quality products that will last longer. Alongside her photos, Cole’s captions bring light to the concerning statistics of fast fashion. “Did you know that the typical fast fashion item is only worn five times before being discarded?” she stated. Following Cole on social media is not only a daily inspiration on why we need sustainable fashion, but also allows for some sneak peaks into the amazing finds she has collected over the years. Her mom recently gifted her a pair of Chanel earrings she had picked up at an estate sale, how cool is that?

From a young age, Amanda has loved all things girly and glamorous. However, she has not appreciated the chemicals and cruelty that has occurred in order to create glamorous products. For all beauty lovers, Amanda’s Instagram and blog are life changing. Amanda features ethical and cruelty products of all kinds. Ranging from lip glosses, face oils and cuticle and nail cream, she covers it all. One of the most exciting attributes Amanda offers is an Organic Bunny Box, which is an organic and cruelty free beauty subscription box. Receiving a beauty box full of ethical products is an exceptional way to learn and transition into using more sustainable makeup products.




Eco Age

earning aesthetics with ethics, what is EcoAge? Based in London, Eco-Age provides sustainability consultancy for retailers and a ‘Brandmark’ that is awarded to brands that have been validated by Eco-Age and meet the required principles for sustainable excellence. The Fashion Industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world while many global fashion companies refuse to accept blame. Thankfully, companies such as Eco-Age, are beginning to pop-up around the world. Why is Eco-Age important? The company is educating both consumers and companies on how to become more sustainable. Without companies such as Eco-Age, fashion based companies will continue to pollute and conduct unethically. With a spike in attention towards the production of our clothing following the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, Eco-Age is gaining more clients that are beginning to put ethical practices on company priorities Livia Firth is the founder and the creative director for Eco-Age. Sustainability and ethical practices has been a passion for Livia for nearly a decade. In 2009, Livia started working with high brand names like Stella McCartney, Gucci, and Erdem to offer sustainable solutions to their supply chain. As a global ambassador and a philanthropist, she feels that it is her duty to promote ethical fashion. She has started and supported so many campaigns that bring to light the horrors of this industry and fearlessly continues to fight for every individual involved in the supply and production process to be treated fairly and for companies to be environmentally conscious. Eco-Age’s largest contribution to the fashion industry is the start of the Green Carpet Challenge. This event gets the Hollywood elites involved and raises awareness of the impact caused by the industry and the larger influence they have on the fashion industry. This event began four years ago and has obtained attention from consumers, businesses and key business leaders in the fashion industry. Sustainable fashion is brought to life and proves to skeptics that the collaboration between sustainability and high fashion is quite possible. It shows that if luxury designers can do it, so can other retail business that we as consumers shop at. Livia Firth’s main advice when it comes to both easy and affordable sustainable clothing is to simply shop less. Firth begs you to ask “Will I wear this at least 30 times?” before hitting the cash register. Remind yourself of #30wears next time you hit the shopping mall to be a bit more sustainable! GABBY HUFF & CONNOR NORTHUP


authentic or vegan

At a glance, vegan leather may seem like the better choice because no animals are harmed in the process, however it is extremely harmful to the environment.

Animal rights activists have long been opposed to using animal products, such as leather and fur, in fashion. However, few people are aware of the sustainability issues that accompany “faux” alternatives. Authentic leather is made in tanneries using the skins, kips, and hides of previously killed animals from the food industry. Tanneries have been around for centuries and are considered to be one of the oldest known crafts. The tanning methods include mineral, vegetable, and oil. All of which are, increasingly more sustainable by recycling the water used during throughout the process. At a glance, vegan leather may seem like the better choice because no animals are harmed in the process, however it is extremely harmful to the environment. Fake leather, also known as vegan, pleather, or synthetic leather is made from a combination of synthetic plastic-based material and some plant parts. Thus, misleading consumers into thinking that it is 100% organic material, when it is not. Plastic coatings, PVC (Polyvinyl chloride), and other toxins in plastic cause havoc on the environment. PVC is not biodegradable in the manufacturing and disposal of any products. This not only leads to harmful effects on the environment and animals but can cause developmental and reproductive issues while increasing one’s risk of getting cancer when exposed. When comparing the actual products, vegan leather is less durable, thinner, and has a shorter lifespan; which means the merchandise would have to be replaced every few years. Therefore, the environmental impact of replacing a vegan leather product multiple times would be arguably more damaging than the single, more sustainable purchase of a real leather piece. OLIVIA GULLO



ways to be a more

sustainable shopper


Quality, not quantity We are constantly surrounded by fast fashion in today’s world, and it’s hard not to fall into the trap. Why would we spend $100 on something high quality that we’ll have forever, rather than buying 5 different $20 shirts? After reading the book ‘Classic Style’ by Kate Schelter, I realized how much more sustainable and practical it is to fill your wardrobe with classic, high-quality pieces that can be worn for decades. Building a core wardrobe of essentials, and then accessorizing and revamping these high-quality pieces is a much more sustainable way to build the ideal wardrobe. The Marie Kondo method is something I have started to think about when shopping. Before I buy something, I try to think if I see myself wanting to wear it in a few months or if I’ll end up throwing it out. If it’s the second of the two options, it’s not worth the purchase. There are some pieces that will never go out of style, and if it means spending a little more money on these items in order to create a more sustainable future it is definitely worth it.


Sustainability is becoming more and more important to consumers. Much of the younger demographic feels this way because we are the ones who will face the complications of brands who are not sustainable. Forbes presented an article, “Why Sustainable Branding Matters” as a great summary of how sustainability can heavily impact a company’s image. Here are a few ways, as a consumer, you can be sustainable. Rental Websites Become A Second Hand Websites such as Rent the Runway, Shopper are a great way to be sustainable. Thrift, consignment, and antique I am part of the Rent the Runway stores are where some of my Update program, so every month favorite pieces in my wardrobe I choose four pieces to receive and come from. I’ve gotten everything wear throughout the month for a from Gucci loafers to faux fur flat fee. When the month is over, jackets at these type of stores- all I can choose to send the items for a fraction of the price. The back for new pieces or purchase items in these stores are often the items at a discount. If you previously owned but make it want to learn more about Rent the a great way to reduce the waste Runway, I highly suggest listening of clothing. It’s definitely a time to the NPR podcast, “How I Built commitment trying to find pieces This,” with RTR founder Jenn in these stores, but that’s part Hyman. of the fun! Previous trends are Search Before You Spend constantly coming back into style, There is so much information and instead of buying Forever online, and before purchasing from 21’s latest replica of that trend, it’s a company it is so easy to check how great to find the original version! sustainable they are. Companies like Zara, Forever 21, and H&M are Re-sell not always transparent and often do Not only does re-selling clothes not prioritize sustainability. They give you a bigger budget to shop, may be taking steps in the right but it’s also very sustainable. Just direction, but there are companies the other day my roommate and that are far more sustainable than I went and sold some clothes at a lot of the fast fashion retailers. A Plato’s Closet and got cash for few notable sustainable companies things we didn’t wear anymore. include Allbirds, Reformation, Apps and websites like Poshmark Patagonia, Lululemon, Outdoor and ThreadUp make it easy to sell Voices and many more. These and shop for gently used clothes, brands often have a section on their instead of buying new items. website highlighting their sustainable Sometimes I prefer shopping on practices, and how they plan to work these sites, because a lot of the towards a more sustainable future. products are like-new but for a fraction of the price. ABBY WIDGER



4. 5.

? u yo



How often do you shop at fast fashion retailers?

A. All the time! It’s super cheap and trendy...who wouldn’t?? B. Every now and then. Sometimes I need a basic wardrobe piece and don’t want to spend a fortune. C. Never. I’d rather buy quality pieces even if it costs a little more.


How do you dispose of your clothing when you no longer want it?

A. Throw it in the trash. It’s the easiest and fastest way for me to get rid of it. B. Donate it to a thrift store. I figure they’ll know what to do with it. C. Either give it to a friend or upcycle it. I try to dispose of it in the most sustainable way possible.


Do you focus on quality over quantity when shopping?

A. Rarely. I’m not at the point in my life in which I really need quality pieces. B. It isn’t a priority of mine, but if I like a quality piece that’s a little more expensive, I’ll splurge. C. Always. It’s much more satisfying when I find a quality piece to buy rather than spending my money on something cheap.


Are you willing and able to make sustainable improvements within your lifestyle? A. No thanks. Sustainability doesn’t seem like it’s my thing. B. I’ll do my best but I can’t promise anything. Slowly but surely I’ll ge there! C. Absolutely! I already live a sustainable lifestyle and do everything in my power to improve upon it everyday!

Answer Mostly “A” ... You my friend have some work to do! Your clothing choices aren’t the most sustainable, but there is always room for improvement! Answer Mostly “B”...Whether you know it or not, you’re on your way to being a sustainable consumer! With a little more practice, you’ll be a master. Answer Mostly “C”...You’re the queen of sustainability! Keep doing what you’re doing and share your sustainable practices with all your friends!



Being in love with the environment has always been a passion of mine. Ever since I was little, I remember spending the majority of my time outside and going to visit zoos. Animals always fascinated me and I believe that is what sparked my interest in sustainability Macey Zimmerman ’20


SUSTAINABILITY is the new statement

It breaks my heart that forests are being cut down and animals are losing their homes. It may be small, but I want to be able to do my part in order to help our world stay beautiful in any way possible!

Though we do not like to admit it, the majority of our lives are spent in a bubble. I will be the first to admit that my busy schedule does not leave much time for pondering solutions to many of the ethical and environmental issues this planet faces. It is not my first thought as I wake up in the morning, nor is it my last thought when I go to sleep at night. There are more important things to worry about, right? Did you know that in 2016, 24.9 million people were estimated to have been in forced labor? Not only is this estimate astonishingly high, but also disheartening when we ask ourselves how much we have contributed to the problem at hand. The true cost is not the lack of money in our pocket, but rather the lack of initiative we take within our own lives and industry. We are entering an industry that is both extremely beneficial, yet equally harmful. While I will admit the fashion industry has taken action towards a more sustainable approach, we must not stop there. It is not merely enough to be ethical in this situation, we must take the revolution one step further. It is time for both our industry and our planet to become redemptive. What if we could take part in renewing culture? The good news is that we can! We are the future of our industry and are capable of a restorative change. We are currently in the “in between.” We are faced with the choice to point our actions towards

beauty or brokenness. We are entering an industry that is full of beauty both physically and metaphorically. Beauty is the language of fashion. It speaks to one’s inner beauty and emphasizes another’s outer beauty. Cover girl, Macey Zimmerman, has used her fashion sense and artistic ability to create an abundance of sustainable garments that have been featured at campus-wide events such as the annual Trashion Show and an upcycled Halloween costume contest. Sustainable practices do not apply solely to the fashion industry. Sustainability is something that you can incorporate within your everyday life. Whether you choose to focus on the consumer end of the spectrum, or the large environmental sector related to sustainability, it all comes full circle at the end of the day. For Macey, animals are what sparked her interest in sustainability. “Being in love with the environment has always been a passion of mine. Ever since I was little, I remember spending the majority of my time outside and going to visit zoos. Animals always fascinated me and I believe that is what sparked my interest in sustainability,” she said. Sustainability comes in all shapes and sizes. Find whatever your niche is and run with it. The smallest of actions hold the largest of impact. Every step that you take towards a more sustainable life is a glimpse of hope for a sustainable future. Though she claims her actions seem fairly small, Macey says, “I want to be able to do my part in order to help our world stay beautiful in any way possible!” The future is ours and the time has come for us to make a statement. We deserve a sustainable future. The 24.9 million people working in forced labor deserve a sustainable future. Our planet deserves a sustainable future. Let’s make it happen. BRIANA HARRISON



Sustainability in fashion is no doubt an important issue, but sometimes it can be difficult for some of us to participate. High quality, sustainable garments can be expensive, and fast fashion seems like an easy way to participate in the constantly changing trends. But what if you could make these trendy clothes yourself? Here are a few ways to update your wardrobe while being sustainable and chic.

01 02


Frayed Bottom Jeans

For this not so basic denim, all you need is a pair of jeans! Use a pair you already have or a pair from a thrift store to reduce new garment turnover. Then, just make lots of vertical cuts on the hem, and pull them apart for that frayed effect. It’s so much simpler then it looks!

Hair and Neck Scarves I can guarantee you’ll be seeing a lot more of these as the weather gets warmer. Instead of spending $15 at Urban Outfitters, why not make your own? All you need is an old t-shirt, skirt, or any other piece of clothing with a print you love. Go thrifting or closet surfing just looking at prints! All you need to do is cut out a large square of fabric and fold it around your ponytail. You can also cut a long strip of fabric and tie it to a ponytail holder for another cute look.


Distressed Sweater


Side Stripes

Why buy something already distressed? Here’s how to do it yourself. Take a sweater (oversized thrifted sweaters are perfect for this!) and decide where you want the shredding. Cut one of the vertical threads and begin to unravel it. This will cause the distressed look with the horizontal threads. Now repeat until it’s as unique as you want! Just make sure you tie off the thread where you want it to stop.

This is a really versatile way to upgrade anything! I’ve seen this done on everything from sweatshirts to jeans to skirts. Simply purchase some ribbon and use hot glue or fabric glue to attach it to the sides of your garment. Fold over the ends for the store-bought effect. SARAH FERTAL




Awareness of our clothing consumption and disposal of garments is essential to all consumers because it is the Earth’s condition that is suffering. Recently, I conducted a survey for a project in my Responding to Climate Change course that provided me with data on how fashion and biology students consume and dispose of their clothing. One question I asked was, “do you base your purchases off quality or quantity?” Only 25 of the 100 surveyed admitted they would prefer a cheaper price with lesser quality, so they can buy more items. Fifty percent said they want quality purchases. The remaining 15% base their purchasing decisions off how much they are willing to spend on that item or just purchasing what they like, no matter the quality or price. The results to this question threw me off a bit because when asked what retailers this group of students shop from, the majority of responses included Forever 21, H&M, Zara, TJ Maxx/Marshalls, Charlotte Russe, and American Eagle — all fast fashion retailers that have low quality clothing. However, not all responses included these fast fashion retailers, some students say they make their own clothing, shop at thrift stores or shop at sustainable fashion brands such as Everlane, Patagonia and Pact. The correlation between desire of quality and shopping primarily at fast fashion retailers is a bit off, but it is understandable, as we are trying to be fashionable on a budget. When it comes to those surveyed, there was a range of how often people consume. There are those who go shopping every weekend, while many shop once a month or a couple times a school year. Online shopping is something those surveyed do often as well (someone has to keep the mailroom busy)! Overconsumption is something we are all guilty of, and based off the results, each person has on average 3 items that have never been worn or still have tags on them. Keep in mind, consumption is the cause of clothing disposal. Reducing consumption and purchasing items that can be worn for different occasions will help the planet.

Tips for an EnvironmentallyConsciousWay to Dispose of Your Garments Give your old clothing to a friend or homeless shelter Only 10% of clothing donated to thrift stores will actually make it to the sales floor, so by giving it to a friend or a shelter, your clothing will be used! Upcycle your clothing Turn your older garments into something new and fresh. You will be spending less money and will not be putting another garment in the trash. Use your clothing as rags Old tee shirts are great for cleaning up messes. A lot of my raggedy clothing goes to my dad to use as rags in his garage. Resell your clothes on Poshmark You are getting money for your items and the life of your garment is living longer! Bring clothing back to stores when they are collecting items to recycle You save money on your purchase and your clothing goes back into making something new. J. Crew recently was collecting jeans and repurposing them for housing insulation! Participate in the clothing swap later this year Fashion Council will be hosting a clothing swap later this year to promote a sustainable way to dispose of your clothing. Join the Council on April 23rd from 2-5 p.m. in the Student Union Great Room!




SUSTAINABILITY During the summer of 2018, I had the amazing opportunity to intern under CDK, one of Bhutan’s most influential fashion designers. CDK is a slow fashion brand that focuses on preserving traditional Bhutanese textiles by uplift -ing local artisans. All CDK textiles are sustainably sourced from Bhutan and neighboring India. The focus of the brand is to provide garments that are made with Bhutanese textiles that mimic contemporary silhouettes. Weaving is an integral part of Bhutanese culture and CDK does a commendable job of integrating this aspect into her designs. The brand ensures that all the weavers and seamstresses are working in a socially fair environment. A country sandwiched between two of the most populous countries in the world, India and China, Bhutan has ingrained sustainability and environmental conservation into her national identity. This is reflected in the work of fashion designers such as CDK. During my time as an intern at CDK, I got a first-hand experience on the creation of her Autumn/Winter line for 2018. This line was inspired by the endangered black necked crane of Bhutan, a symbol of prosperity and growth. I got to meet with the seamstresses and see the process of constructing a raw silk jacket. Immersing myself into my country’s fashion environment opened my views on how a fashion brand can exist with a sustainable focus. Another aspect of CDK that really caught my attention was the fact that she uses only natural dyes for her designs. This proved to me that CDK had a passion for nature and the environment and was truly an eco-fashion brand. By the end of my internship I was determined to delve more into sustainability and finally decided to declare myself as a minor in sustainability. As a fashion merchandising major, with a focus on sustainability, I intend to create a space in the future where fashion and sustainability co-exist in harmony. YOSEL NADIK


Big Apple


Like a lot of fashion majors, I have been to New York City many times. When there, I often find myself doing the same things: walking through the Met or Central Park, shopping along Fifth Avenue, or catching a Broadway show. When I was there last summer, I decided to try something new: I hired a fashion tour guide and it ended up being the best decision I’ve ever made! The idea came to me when exploring the internet for things to do in New York. I began to notice that there are actually many different shopping tours available. Tripadvisor lists many different tours, including Shopping Girlfriend NYC, Urban Adventures, and Shopping with Rox. I have a particular interest in vintage clothing, so I contacted Ms. Suzanne Lenora of ZTrend New York. Suzanne’s tours specialize in vintage clothing boutiques and out-of-the-way consignment stores in the Gramercy and East Village neighborhoods of New York. Suzanne is a trained personal stylist and a terrific shopping buddy! She keeps her shopping tours intimate and exclusive by limiting them to only eight people. My tour included myself and two other guests. Her process is simple. First, after making a reservation through her website, we meet for coffee. She conducts a short interview to learn your style preferences and any special events for which you may be shopping. Next, she provides us with a map and we begin. Suzanne has a tremendous amount of experience as a stylist and keeps informed about the latest trends. She’s familiar with all brands and labels and has personal relationships with a lot of store owners. I quickly learned to trust her opinions and recommendations. Our first stop was the City Opera Thrift Shop, which was tucked-in a small, nondescript storefront on East 23rd Street. Without Suzanne’s expertise, I would have walked right by. This store is a charity

shop that benefits the New York City Opera. It was filled with fine furniture, art, housewares and clothing that was donated by City Opera supporters. I quickly noticed beautiful pieces by top designers like Carolina Herrera, Donna Karan, and Zac Posen – all at amazing prices. Next, Suzanne took me to Beacon’s Closet. This thrift shop caters to a younger customer and is located on East 13th Street, near New York University. My expert tour guide warned me that the store could be difficult to navigate because of the huge amount of inventory. She was completely right! Suzanne also cautioned me not to be overwhelmed by the amount of clothing, but to focus like a laser beam on the racks because top quality finds can always be found hidden in with other pieces. Upon entering the store, we immediately split up, each of us taking an aisle. We giggled at ourselves as we yelled at each other across the racks of clothing. Suzanne quickly found three amazing dresses for me from Marchesa, Ralph Lauren, and Alice+Olivia, all of which I ended up buying for a fraction of their original price. We spent the rest of the afternoon venturing into various shops and boutiques that I never would have found without her help. At the end of our afternoon together, Suzanne only asks to be paid what you thought her help was worth. She has no set price per tour. I was happy to pay generously for her time. She introduced me to an area of the New York I don’t usually go to, and helped me find stores and pieces of clothing I never would have found otherwise. Next time you’re in New York and want to leave the tourist attractions aside, I can sincerely recommend Suzanne from ZTrend, Inc. for a fun and informative afternoon of shopping, conversation, and fashion. You can learn more about Suzanne and ZTrend New York at! OLIVIA HEASLEY


My Story

why i choose to be sustainable

When I studied fashion merchandising back in the 90s, fast fashion retailers were just beginning to enter the market. The larger issue that I studied in the fashion industry related to the social and ethical issues of the workers when sourcing from developing countries. The social and the environmental impact of the fashion industry was a topic that I began to follow as a consumer. When doing my thesis for my Master’s degree I studied the fact that my grandmother would take old clothing from my 13 aunts and uncles and recycle them into other usable items around the home, like rag rugs. The idea of taking clothing and either upcycling and reusing was something I grew up with. My parents always reused clothing. I mostly remember taking jeans and cutting them to make shorts, cutting my dad’s old t-shirts to make dust rags and taking my brother shirts and cutting them and restyling to making something new. Being resourceful and upcycling was something I always enjoyed. My husband and daughter have a variety of skin allergies/sensitives. I had to be careful when shopping for the type of fabrics they would wear and the laundry detergents I used. Many times, when I would try to do research on clothing companies, they were not always transparent on where and how they sourced their materials. I realized that there may be a darker side to the fashion industry that I wanted to learn more about. It wasn’t enough for me to know the country of origin, I wanted to know MORE about where the fabric came from, and the working conditions of the facility where our clothing was made. In doing my own personal research, I realized that many of the brands that I loved provided little to no information on how they sourced their materials. Additionally, when the movie TRUE COST came out that was eye opening in capturing the realties we are dealing with in the fashion industry. Many people do not recognize that the fashion industry is the #2 most polluting industry, 2nd to the oil industry. Also clothing consumption has dramatically increased. The world consumes 80 billion pieces of clothing each year. This is up 400% from two decades ago. Some of the statistics are staggering! Then I had moment of clarity when I began to teach at Mercyhurst; I am teaching our future leaders in the fashion industry. If I can at least provide my students the education and show them my passion about the subject, they can serve as agents of change. So in as many classes I teach, I try to incorporate concepts of sustainability as it relates to the class. Many fashion companies recognize that sustainability is a real issue and are implementing strategies within their strategic plans. It is very exciting to see many companies making progress to see real change! ASHLEE RZYCZYCKI, assistant professor of Fashion Merchandising


Keeping up with the department Fashion Council

Though the semester is coming to an end, fashion council isn’t slowing down anytime soon! Mark your calendars for fashion revolution week (April 22-26) and join the Council members in their efforts to make its campus a more sustainable place. Officer elections for the 2019-2020 academic year are coming up, so make sure to apply! Be sure to check out the Tony Walker Pop Up Shop coming to our campus on April 9th from 12-5 p.m.

Fashion Collaborative

Old Main 308 is slowly but surely coming along! When complete, the space will be a fun, relaxing, and functional space for student use. The space will be perfect spot for group work, collaborating with a faculty member, or simply having a coffee in between classes!

Fashion Law Club

Mercyhurst’s fashion law club has kicked off and they are beyond excited to get the ball rolling. The club meets every other Thursday in The Loft at 3:00 p.m., where they discuss everything fashion law. In the short term, they are hoping to bring in guest speakers, host a movie night, and even debate some ongoing fashion law cases! Long term, the club is looking to take trips to Toronto and New York City. If this interests you, stop by at their next meeting, or get in contact with Amy Weaver-Kaulis (Faculty Facilitator)or Shannon Gothem (Club President).


t i f

Finding a

for sustainable fashion alumni kerrie rosenheck, ‘10, shares her sustainable responsability inside burberry, london.


While it would be amazing if we could tackle all aspects of sustainability, there is still much that needs to be done in order to create a truly circular economy.


In fashion the term sustainability is used to describe many different approaches toward improving the way we produce and discard of clothes. These approaches include repurposing waste, facilitating biodegradability and composability, using bio-based materials, and capturing carbon. While it would be amazing if we could tackle all aspects of sustainability, there is still much that needs to be done in order to create a truly circular economy. However, every little step toward achieving sustainability continues to improve our world. During my time working at Burberry in London, the brand focused its efforts on one sustainability approach in particular that involved low toxicity. I joined the brand right as they committed to eliminate the use of all hazardous chemicals throughout their supply chain by 2020. While this was a huge undertaking, we were supported by other major brands that were also determined to make a change. Even with all of this support, it was challenging to shift the ways of working for many of our partners. In many cases, the mills and garment manufacturers that

had a longstanding history were difficult to onboard. Several questions within the brand arose on whether or not sustainability took priority when it came to design approvals and production timing. We started to tackle our goal by issuing an updated version of our Restricted Substances List (RSL). An RSL is intended to provide restrictions on hazardous substances such as lead, AZO dyes, dimethylformamide (DMF), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), and nickel release. Our RSL consisted of over 10 pages and hundreds of substances to restrict. Without becoming too overwhelmed, we narrowed in on a couple of substances and decreased their limits incrementally until we could reach zero. Besides strengthening our existing ban on phthalates in our RSL, we also took a stand on perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). PFCs have been around since the 1950s, but we did not know a lot about their

effects until the early 2000s when scientists began releasing data on PFC toxicity and their persistence in the environment. A particularly troublesome PFC is perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, a suspected human carcinogen that has been linked to cancer, kidney damage, and reproductive problems. PFCs are commonly used to make fabrics repel water and were our primary means at the time to waterproof our iconic trench coats. Moving away from PFCs meant finding new chemistries that met our performance demands for the luxury sector. We swiftly made a chemistry change from C8 to C6 (6 carbons instead of 8 in their chemical backbone) to lower the potential risk of bio-accumulation in humans. Our mills had to run separate production lines to avoid any risk of contamination from other brands still using C8 chemistry within the same facility. While we took a step in the right direction, we still had a long way to go if we wanted to eliminate PFCs completely. We started looking into different treatments applied by atmospheric cold plasma such as hydrocarbon and silicone PFC-free water repellents. Though these treatments met our sustainability criteria in being PFC-free, testing revealed that they did not match our performance standards when it came to waterproofness, breathability, and laundering. Since leaving Burberry to come back to the States, I have worked for the past two years at a materials consulting firm called Material Connexion in New York. My current job is to find the most innovative material and manufacturing solutions. Brands from all different industries including fashion, footwear, automotive, and furniture seek our consultation in finding a suitable PFC alternative. Although many great technical advancements have been made, we are still today searching for the golden PFC alternative. KERRIE ROSENHECK


A special thank you to Jen, Macey, and MacKenzie for making this issue of STATEMENT possible.


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