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This month, Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) kickstarted a project that allows the university community to reuse, recycle and upcycle Ryerson-branded materials.
The Branded Materials Transition Project (BMTP) will repurpose branded merchandise, apparel, stationery, and keepsakes.
The project runs from September to October on Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) in room 3319. The general public will have open access to drop off branded gear.
Earlier phases of the project collected professional and office items with the former Ryerson name.
“We’ve been debranding things and removing the portion that says Ryerson and have been able to return a lot of materials in-house to the department that purchased them,” said Gina Vaccaro, the project creator and lead of the BMTP at TMU.
Phase two opens up the program to receive a wider range of Ryerson-branded materials.
“Everything affected by our name change transition will be responsibly dealt with,” said Vaccaro. “The next chapter was essentially moving us through the truth and reconciliation process around our name.”
The BMTP team is collaborating with TMU Archives & Special Collections to ensure appropriate materials are collected for historical purposes.
As the project receives materials, the BMTP team will divide them between its partners. The Creative School is partnering with the Department of Athletics & Recreation to commission and mentor up to 20 alumni fashion designers to use some of the materials for a special upcycled project.
They will create a limited-edition collection of upcycled fashion items with the materials collected, such as Ryerson Rams varsity team apparel and jerseys.
Dirk de Waal, an associate professor of fashion event planning and promotion at TMU, is working with the fashion show event to ensure it is as sustainable as possible.
“The project was born from the idea of taking the redundant Ryerson produce, textiles and so forth and reimagining that for this show to bring awareness to it,” said de Waal.
The fashion pieces will be showcased at a sustainable fashion show at the MAC in November 2022.
One of the other programs the project will be working with is the Scadding Court Community Centre Sewing Hub. The organization accepts clothing and repurposed textiles to support their sewing program, which helps residents learn how to perform repairs and alterations, and make and design clothing.
“We want to teach more of an upcycling element…with the clothing, we try to find different and creative ways to use them, that at the end they can go back and towards the community,” said Munira Abukar, project coordinator of Scadding Court Social Enterprise.
Abukar said they would be working on a specialized collection with the products they receive. She did not say what that might look like, however the community centre program has created bucket hats and scrunchies in the past. They are hoping to sell their creations on the night of the fashion show.
“Every project we want to do…wants to be included and rooted in honouring the Indigenous history of this country and why the name is being changed,” she said.
People interested in BMTP’s work are also eligible to volunteer in support of the sustainability initiative.
“Sustainability needs everybody…we realize we all need to work in sustainability,” said Vaccaro, the team lead.
Copy editor, On The Record, Fall 2022.