Collina Strada Fall 20

Collina Strada Fall 2020


I recently heard Collina Strada described as “sustainability for the Bushwick kids” in a tone that bordered on dismissive and my thought was, is that a bad thing? Hillary Taymour is unapologetic in her environmental awareness and desire to share her message with others –while at the same time creating garments that are as whimsical as they are wearable and utterly fearless in the use of prints.

This season she collaborated with our friends Liz and Branson from The OR Foundation a not-for-profit organization working to transform the fashion industry by expanding perspectives across borders and beyond single stories through applied research, curricula and advocacy. Much of their work takes place in Accra, Ghana where they conduct research on the effects of the second hand clothing market. Hillary met them through Charlie Engman, a mutual friend who is also a long time Collins Strada collaborator and the stylist for the show. “Upon meeting Hillary I was immediately struck by her authenticity – her desire to listen, learn and to immediately take action where she can. Since then we have been flirting with the idea of an upcycling collab. For her most recent collection Charlie purchased some t-shirts from Kantamanto – items that would not sell, thus lessening waste but also supporting retailers financially. They then worked with our friend Laetitia – a recent fashion grad who lives in Accra & who is a core part of the sustainable fashion community there  – to sew the tee shirt dress. This dress marks the beginning of a larger collaboration. “ Liz shared with me.

They also brought back a few bales of single use tees from Ghana –clothing that ironically all originated in the US and went unsold in thrift stores and now would have ended up in a landfill. Hillary will be using these as material for new upcycled garments going forward. As Liz explained this collaboration endeavors to accomplish three things:

  1. recover a small percentage of clothing from the waste stream in Ghana

  2. raise awareness of the waste created by the secondhand clothing trade

  3. contribute funds to the next phase of the OR’s work which includes recovering waste, shredding it and taking the first steps towards fiber recycling in Ghana (going beyond upcycling to address the scale of this problem).

None of this would matter if she didn’t have a fan base that genuinely loves her work. It’s safe to say the Collina Strada fan base is only growing larger and Taymour’s challenge will be to find the balance of scale and sustainability that reflects her worldview. Hopefully this collaboration will help her do exactly that.

“The amount of waste being dumped on Ghana by the Global North is staggering. It can be overwhelming to tackle but working with Hillary and the rest of the Collina Strada team is refreshing because they don’t hesitate to take responsibility. This begins with Collina Strada upcycling t-shirts that we recovered from the waste stream in Ghana. In addition to extending the life of these garments we hope that this collaboration catalyzes a conversation about single use t-shirts because as far as items of clothing go, these t-shirts represent the most absurd use of resources and are the item most likely to go to waste in Ghana”

— Liz & Branson, The OR Foundation

–Katya Moorman