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Visiting Entrepreneur Joins Community Conversation in PHI

Students and faculty learned about the economic, environmental, and human costs of today’s “fast fashion” industry and considered ways consumers and businesses can promote a more sustainable approach to the production and distribution of consumer wearables at a community conversation on Wednesday, October 9.

Nearly 60 members of the school community gathered in the Pearse Hub for Innovation (PHI) for the evening event, titled “The True Cost of Fashion.” The event was organized by the Norton Family Center for the Common Good and the PHI. Listed among the Norton Center’s fall term “conversation credits,” attendance at which is required once per term for students in the center’s ninth- and 10th-grade seminars, the evening’s program was open to the entire community.

Attendees gathered at one end of the PHI to watch a portion The True Cost, a Netflix documentary exposing the often-unseen negative impact that the global fashion industry has on people and environments where garments are cheaply mass-produced.

Following the film, entrepreneur Rachel DeCavage who owns Cinder & Salt in Middletown, Connecticut spoke with the group. Cinder & Salt is committed to eco-friendly and sustainable design. Its products include items to wear, use, decorate, and gift, according to Ms. DeCavage.

Most of Cinder & Salt’s products are made in the United States; are made from recycled, re-purposed materials; and create very little trash, Ms. DeCavage said. She demonstrated how to make fun, creative screen prints to individualize articles made from recycled or re-purposed materials, and she invited attendees to try the process.

After the screen-printing demonstration, the students and faculty gathered into groups around the PHI to discuss what they had learned and how they might use that knowledge as consumers and in their future enterprises.