Rags to riches: this Vancouver Island teen is creating Salvation Army-rescued fashion

Vancouver Island teen Amira Strain is taking scraps of discarded clothes and turning the would-be rags into high fashion.

Amira Strain gives new life to would-be rags with her fashion designs

One of the outfits Amira Strain designed is made out of discarded curtains she found at the Salvation Army. (Submitted by Amira Strain)

Vancouver Island teen Amira Strain is taking scraps of discarded clothes and turning the would-be rags into high fashion.

Strain scavenges her local Salvation Army for clothes that can't be sold and collects donations from friends and family.

And, sometimes, that means her haute couture designs had some very humble beginnings.

"I had these giant curtains show up in the rag-it pile and they were hideous to say the least," she told Jason D'Souza, the host of CBC's All Points West.

Strain turned the curtains into a formal gown.

Social justice inspired

The Grade 12 student came up with idea of rescuing and refurbishing discards in a social justice class.

"I wanted to raise awareness to the effects that fast fashion has on our environment," Strain said.  

A T-shirt takes about 2,700 litres of water to make, she said, compared to the roughly 300 litres the average person drinks annually.

"Fashion changes so quickly and we are constantly being encouraged to throw out our clothes and buy a whole new wardrobe, so it's just adding to this ever-growing cycle," Strain said.

She's showcasing her original designs at a fashion show called Salvation Couture on Sunday.

Part of the proceeds from her show, where the entry fee is by donation, will go toward funding an upcoming Queer Prom.

Vancouver Island teen Amira Strain is taking scraps of discarded clothes and turning the would-be rags into high fashion. 6:05

With files from All Points West.