ReFashionista showcases out of the box design with reuse


Courtesy of Morgan Walsh

Walsh’s Coca-Cola dress design from last year’s ReFashionista event.

Lucy Lopez, Culture Editor

Renew, reuse, recycle— it’s a familiar phrase. But what happens when this is applied to a fashion event?

ReFashionista mixes the old and new. Designers and seamstresses scour the racks at Salvation Army and create entirely original outfits. Created in 2012, Salvation Army Community Relations & Special Events Coordinator Annemarie Taft uses this event as a way to rebrand.

“It was an idea I had to incorporate our mission into a fun fundraising event that would encourage a young demographic to look at The Salvation Army in a new light,” Taft said.

The competition is open to amateur designers 13 or older. Paid, professional designers cannot participate, which presents an opportunity for SUNY Buffalo State fashion textile technology students.

Morgan Walsh, a senior fashion textile technology on the cusp of graduation, is debuting a piece celebrated and inspired by the  “ONEBuffalo” theme at the event. This is her second year participating in the event. She created a piece last year for Coca-Cola out of labels and can tabs.

Walsh starts her design process by searching for inspiration on the Internet then seeing what speaks to her after collecting the materials from the Salvation Army.

“We are very proud of Morgan Walsh who has done amazing work creating stylized garments from non-traditional items,” said Lynn Boorady, chair of Buffalo State’s fashion textile technology department. “Morgan has become known for her ability to create wonderful ‘garments’ from advertisements, labels, brochures, etc. which highlight the sponsoring company. Professionally done, these items would have value in the thousands.”

Boorady mentioned a number of fashion students are involved with ReFashionista, ranging from designers to the backstage process. Taft said that there were eight participants from Buffalo State last year.

ReFashionista is one of several city events students get involved with. In the past, they have worked with the Elmwood Village fashion show Mass Appeal and Mercedes-Benz Buffalo Fashion Week. Walsh was one of the participants in Mass Appeal.

“I created a piece for Lloyd Taco Truck, that piece was later worn by a model at the Runway reception before [Mass Appeal],” Walsh said. “[It was] a top and skirt made out of love letters that were written to Lloyd’s and I created a clutch out of a burrito shell for the model to carry.”

Most recently Buffalo State fashion textile technology students practiced their visual merchandising techniques this past fall at the Market Arcade.

In congruence with supporting the community, fashion textile technology students also work with Goodwill and clothing collections for refugee students at Lafayette High School and merchandising their stores.

With the fundraising done at ReFashionista, proceeds are going to 17 different programs run by the Salvation Army throughout Western NY.

But when it comes to the designers, it’s all about finding that creative spark to make something old something new.

“There are so many fabrics, styles, and designs available to anyone that can see potential in a discarded item,” Taft said.

Event details: Mar. 10, 5-8 p.m. at Statler City, more information on