Collaborative Student Exhibit to Take Place in June
at Reher Center


The fast fashion industry is booming. People like cheap clothes. Websites that support fast fashion typically advertise heavily.

Uniqlo, Shein, Topshop, Victoria’s Secret, Urban Outfitters, Guess, The Gap, H&M, Zara, and Adidas. All of these stores represent major name brands in the U.S. and worldwide—and all are known to support the fast fashion industry.

When you shop, it’s easy to focus only on new clothing that will look good and add to your wardrobe.

But when you invest in and support fast fashion chains, you are also paying for the forced labor and enslavement of children and adults around the globe. Not only is fast fashion harmful but it supports a system that is responsible for hiding child labor and creating unsafe standards for workers everywhere.

Not so long ago, there was a garment district just across the river in Kingston. In the 1900’s, many companies operated in midtown Kingston and employed hundreds of workers.

Interestingly, factory conditions today remain very similar to those in Kingston factories a century ago.

RHS’s ninth grade ELA classes had the opportunity to work with the Kingston Catholic School and Ulster BOCES to participate in the “Sewing in Kingston” exhibition at the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History.

As part of this project, the students wrote diary entries using autobiographical information of nine women who worked in Kingston’s Garment district throughout the early 1900’s. The stories of these young women represent hard work, long hours, and perseverance.

Then, students at Ulster BOCES used the diary entries written by RHS students to create shirts that represented each of the nine women. These shirts will be available for viewing at an upcoming exhibition in Kingston called “Sewing in Kingston”.

Not only has garment manufacturing impacted people all over the world, it has also impacted the lives of many in our own community. Everyone understands the appeal of fast fashion, but behind the scenes there is a humanitarian crisis at play. As consumers, each of us has the power to change this industry.

Even just purchasing clothes from local and responsible brands can make a huge difference, as can refusing to purchase from retailers who are actively engaged in the fast fashion industry.

Now is your time to help. “Sewing in Kingston” will be on exhibit Thursday, June 3rd from 5 PM-8 PM. The event will be held outside in the Reher Center Courtyard, near 3 Spring Street, Kingston NY. Come show support for the people behind the stitches. Register here.