Designer Pranathi Meda and her model, Randy Handshoe, celebrate when their design was announced as the first place winner. Meda designed a dress out of recycled newspapers and plastic bags.


Students made a fashion statement by showing off their recycled and upcycled outfits at Reclaimed Runway on Tuesday.

Sustainable Carolina, a student-run organization at the University of South Carolina that promotes environmental, economic and social responsibility, hosted Reclaimed Runway. The event, which has been happening for seven years, spreads awareness about sustainability by holding a fashion show  in the middle of campus, on Greene Street.

Grace Kazmierski, the assistant director for student engagement of the Office of Sustainability, said this year they held the event in conjunction with the Healthy Carolina Farmers Market to reach a broader audience.

“While we love those students who come each year and we want to include those students, we also want to try to reach new students, faculty, staff, community members and vendors to try to get them interested in investing in sustainability,” Kazmierski said.

Five designers created outfits for this event. Each designer brought a model to walk down the runway and showcase the pieces.

Allison Bell modeled “Queen Bee,” a dress made out of an upcycled shower curtain and plastic water bottles, designed by Tianni Pierner. Both Bell and Pierner are involved with the Beekeeping club at UofSC and their entry took home third place in the fashion show.

“I just recently took a liking to upcycling old clothes like this, so I was really excited about this event,” said Bell. “You can turn any old piece of trash into something beautiful. You can turn water bottles into a gown and you can turn newspapers into a beautiful winning dress.”

Second place was awarded to Ken Patterson and her model Catherine Peterson. Patterson designed pants made out of plastic grocery bags and a shirt from a soil bag. They were representing the Sustainable Carolina Marketing Team.

Pranathi Meda won first place for her design “Newspaper Boy,” which consists of an upcycled white dress and newspapers. Her design also featured boots made with cut up CDs and a Vogue-inspired choker.

“I think that fashion is something that a lot of people can relate to, a lot of people have fun with and is very welcoming,” Meda said.

Meda’s model, Randy Handshoe, said he gained creative liberty from this event.

“I feel more creative and I found my community within Carolina. With making this, I made better friends,” said Handshoe. “I love winning. I was born for this.”

Handshoe wanted to stand up for something he believes in, which is sustainability and helping the environment.

Kazmierski said that sustainability can be as easy as changing your daily routines.

“When you are thinking about throwing away a T-shirt that you have had for forever, think about donating it to a local shelter. Think about even, for college students especially, Plato’s Closet, Clothes Mentor, thredUP and Poshmark,” said Kazmierski. “There is a ton of different opportunities to recycle clothes rather than just disposing of them and them ending up in landfills.”

Through Reclaimed Runway, Sustainable Carolina aims to raise awareness about the value of transforming old materials into something new.

“Recycling is important because we are just wasting away all our resources. We are more than capable of reusing all the things that we have already used. It’s just a waste to make piles of trash out of things that we could be making cups, bowls or anything that can help people,” said Bell. “Sustainability means maintaining a good future.”

Tianni Pierner’s design “Queen Bee” won third place at Reclaimed Runway. The dress, which was modeled by Allison Bell, was made from an upcycled shower curtain and plastic water bottles. Pierner and Bell are both members of UofSC’s beekeeping club.

Catherine Peterson modeled Ken Patterson’s design at Reclaimed Runway. Patterson used plastic grocery bags to create pants, which won second place.

Randy Handshoe models Pranathi Meda’s upcycled boots made with cut up CDs. Handshoe also made his own purse out of chip bags.

Mackenzie Logue shows off Darren Manuela’s dress and crown, which are made out of recycled plastic, as she walks down the runway.