New club ups interest in upcycling


Snack wrappers, empty La Croix cans, and colorful craft supplies cover the desks. Students show off their new rings and earrings, handmade from soda can tabs, wire, and colorful 3-D stickers. Their voices grow progressively louder, having to rise above the club’s Spotify playlist and clatter of craft supplies.

OPRF’s brand new Upcycle Club is possibly the loudest and most energetic club at OPRF. However, while some members worked while standing up and talking loudly, others worked meticulously sitting with friends or by themselves.

“It was a really welcoming space,” said freshman Sadie Collins, recalling her first time at the club. “Only girls who seemed genuinely friendly and interested in the idea of upcycling (were there), and I could easily see myself feeling like a part of their community.”

Founder Daaniyah Mirza, a junior, wanted to create a club for the “Thrifting Era” — one that focused on a more relaxing aspect of climate activism.

“I feel like people know (the impacts of fast fashion) but they don’t know the extent to which that’s happening,” said Mirza. “So I felt like making a space where people can have fun, create something that they feel excited about, talk to their friends, but also slowly make a change.”

Fast fashion refers to a business model of cheaply producing large quantities of clothing. “Its effects are negative because of (its) tendency to to mass produce, — which leads to mass waste — infamous history of inhumane working conditions…as well as its direct link to climate change,” said Mirza.

Upcycling is “where you take something unwanted or unused and create a new purpose for those items.” Upcycling combats mass consumerism and waste by creating a new purpose for old, unwanted items, said Mirza.

Mirza, who wears black jeans painted with an abstract white design, first became interested in upcycling because of her love of fashion. “I was thinking about this piece of clothing that I really wanted but I couldn’t find anywhere,” said Mirza. Instead of giving up, she decided to create her own clothing.

By curating a closet of thrifted and upcycled clothing, Mirza developed a style entirely her own. “I just wear clothes that make me feel most confident,” she said. “I really enjoy pieces that strike up a conversation.

Junior Iris Dugan, who attended the first club meeting, said she also enjoys upcycling clothes. “It’s really fun,” she said. “It’s easy to have cool, unique clothes that no one else has and to be proud of what you did and be able to show it off to the world.”

While some attendees were experienced upcyclers, many members were inexperienced with upcycling, but eager to learn.

“Meetings are laid back and inclusive so everyone can participate whether they are just starting out on their upcycling journey or have been passionate about it for a long time,” said club sponsor Lauren Krefft.

Upcyclers explained how much fun they had creating something they could go on to “show off.” At least one member noted she was pleasantly surprised with her crafting ability.

“It’s up to our generation to stop the issues that are happening in the world and to take action against all of these horrible, disastrous effects on nature,” said Mirza, “and I feel like (upcycling) takes the stress off of (typical activism).”

In the future, the club hopes to spread awareness of the climate crisis by inviting guest speakers, hosting a clothing swap, and possibly creating an upcycled sculpture. Mirza said she is “very much open to anybody who has ideas,” whether it be about songs the club should add to its playlist or future projects.

“Anybody who has an interest in helping the environment, who has an interest in art, who enjoys spending time with friends” should join Upcycle Club, said Mirza. “You don’t have to come here as a perfect artist.”

“I’m definitely not (a perfect artist) and I think that’s part of the fun,” said club leader Sadie Fliegel. Upcycle Club “is a place you can do (crafts) for fun with your friends and learn something and talk to some new people.”

Upcycle Club meets Thursdays after school in room 2351. You can follow their club on Instagram @oprfupcycle. This week, they plan to create iron-on decals from plastic bags. Attendees are welcome to bring in plastic bags to upcycle.