Nina Eyerman: From trash to treasure


Credit: Aimee Smith

WHS sophomore Nina Eyerman is traveling to Paris over the summer for a fashion program with IFA Paris. “I’m excited to actually put a collection together because that’s what [the class is] trying to do,” Eyerman said. I’ve never actually put a full collection together. And I can’t wait to show it at the end.”

Bella Schreiber

This year, International Fashion Academy (IFA) Paris is hosting fashion programs for young and aspiring fashion designers, including an “Upcycling Fashion” course. Sophomore Nina Eyerman is one of many students choosing to participate in this ten day program designed to take her sewing and fashion design to the next level.

Eyerman has been sewing since she was young but started designing clothes in sixth grade. Since then, she has developed a passion for fashion design and creating her own clothes.

“I’ve sold clothes to my family friends but not [to anyone] besides them,” Eyerman said. “I made my semi-formal dress, fashion show dress and I made my bat mitzvah dress too, so I’ve worn my clothes out.”

Not only will this program expand on her ability to create clothes, but it also focuses on teaching the importance of upcycling clothes and making the most of what you already have.

“When a student can turn their old jeans into a fashion-forward jacket or an old sweater into a trendy crop top, you are opening doors to new ways of looking at old/used clothing,” IFA Paris’ website said. “Students leave with a feeling of accomplishment that if they want something new, they can create it without spending a penny or going to any store. That changes the way they shop and, ultimately, how they see their own textile waste. Change starts small but has ongoing impact.”

America contributes an estimated 11.3 million tons of textile waste to landfills each year. By teaching students and young fashion designers the importance of reusing and recycling clothing, IFA Paris is showing the rising generation that not only can they pursue what they are passionate in, but they can make a difference while doing it.

“I’m excited to actually put a collection together because that’s what [the class is] trying to do,” Eyerman said. “I’ve never actually put a full collection together. And I can’t wait to show it at the end.”

As the program takes place in Paris, Eyerman will be surrounded by the French language. While she takes French as her second language for school, she has reservations about the language barrier.

“I’m nervous that the kids I’m with aren’t gonna speak English very well even though [it’s a requirement] to speak English,” Eyerman said. “I’m scared French will be their first language, so I won’t be able to communicate with them well.”

Despite that, the program will consist of a number of students in a similar age range from high school to college-level students. There is no pre-requisite for being an advanced fashion designer because the teachers will take the lead and adjust the class based on each person’s skill level.

“I want to major in fashion in college,” Eyerman said. “I want to have a business or something when I’m older.”

This class will help improve on Eyerman’s skills and allow her to pursue her fashion design journey. While she is uncertain with exactly what she wants to do with fashion, this program prepares her for having her own fashion business one day.

“The students involved in this program will discover a unique way of recycling previously un-wearable items or old clothing, creating a more sustainable way of shopping, creating and thinking,” IFA Paris’ website said. “This program was initially created to plant a seed. Now that Upcycled Fashion is trending, this class now offers the opportunity to step into the world of Sustainable Fashion.”

The class will spend some of the classes visiting fashion exhibits for inspiration, thrifting, creating different ideas, deconstructing garments, and reconstructing new clothes. The class spends the entire first and second class, 10 hours in total, visiting fashion exhibits and gathering old clothes from thrift stores. The class will spend most of the other classes learning the best ways to deconstruct and reconstruct clothes and will spend the last day putting on a fashion show of their collection and getting pictures taken. With this said, the program’s goal is to not only empower young fashion designers but to show the importance of creating sustainable fashion and reusing old clothes.

“I’ve been emailing with some of the directors, as a part of them ‘getting to know you,'” Eyerman said. “So I know a little bit about them but not a lot. I know that the main director was a pretty well-known person in fashion, but I don’t know if he’s gonna be teaching the class or not. Either way, I’m excited.”