Saving Earth, one shirt at a time

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: THEHAIRPIN.COM
Turning your old jeans into cute shorts is as easy as snip-snip-snip!

In The Sims, perhaps the most popular life simulation game series, you as a “Sim” can do a slew of things you probably couldn't (read: wouldn't) do in life beyond the computer screen. Maybe something small and simple, such as having six cats. Or maybe something radical: flirting with someone's spouse at your neighbour's house party. And then there are the smaller things — what can only be described as superpowers in our world — that just melt into the whole virtual experience, beneath your dulled observations. Like the clothes. Outfits. Colours upon colours, a myriad of fabrics, a multitude of patterns and designs. The Sims is arguably nothing without the ability to effortlessly customize clothes.

Unfortunately, our lives are not that of Sims, and we are relegated to whatever happens to be in our closet during the grey, groggy mornings before class. We only have what we see: that pair of jeans that still fits after all these years; that graphic tee whose image no longer sparks inside-joke snickers; your mother's sweater that was once cool in an ironic way, but now incites only a shamed, “Just why?”

More than that, when we do buy pricey new clothes, the older, less favourable ones are often chucked into the nearest garbage can. Our student-appropriate wardrobes are limited, after all, so, unless you know how to perform an Undetectable Extension Charm, your mother's sweater will ultimately be made obsolete by your new hipster-but-not fleece. If only we could be more like Sims, endlessly altercating our clothes in front of a mirror that only knows how to flatter us, without worrying about price tags, wasted fabric and limited space...

But, wait, I say in a voice reminiscent of 3 a.m. infomercials! We can change our clothes into anything our mercurial hearts desire! It just requires a little imagination and sartorial pluckiness! If you wanted, you could “make the cutest shorts out of even jeans,” Lisa, student of the Fashion Merchandising program, said. She gave a step-by-step process: “First you have to cut them — with scissors or anything — and after that you pull the lining [where it's been cut]. And you can even use a razor blade to add a ripped effect.”

She then added that basic crop tops can be made from any old shirt with nothing more than a pair of scissors and a keen eye; there are plenty of online tutorials and guides that show how it's done, and more. Jumpers or shirts with minor or no edits can be worn as scarves. Jeans into cut-offs with the help of a spin cycle. Or, for guys, quick muscle shirts with the snipping of sleeves. Torn fabrics transformed into makeshift hair ties, belts and headbands. A tee with your individualized favourite phrase or image — “One of my friends just painted the graphic on,” Lisa remarked, having thought of more ways to save money.

And, because you're going to be heavily customizing these rags into riches, they can be old clothes either already in your grasp — as in, these edits can be done for free, assuming you have the common kitchen utensils — or waiting at the thrift store for a relatively low price!

Don't be afraid to take something old and renew it; what may seem like an overwhelming, time-consuming chore can easily be mitigated with the help of a quick Internet search. There are countless potential outcomes when altering clothes: Be daring and try something new. Save space and money while lightening the landfills by keeping that dingy sweater!

All it takes is a little imagination to be environmentally friendly; together, we can save our college funds and the planet, one piece of clothing at a time.