08/22/2012 03:22 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Fashion Boot Camp: Training Young Designers to Be Eco-Ethical

Reduce, reuse, and recycle! We hear it all the time; paper, glass, and plastic don't go in the regular garbage -- but what about clothing? As long as the sign says "50 percent off," we tend to disregard the environmental impact of our fashion choices.

HooplaHa applauds Fashion Fights Poverty for their forward-thinking and inspirational message about eco-ethical fashion. We were thrilled to stop by their first "Fashion Boot Camp," a five-day sustainable fashion intensive for middle and high school students interested in the fashion industry.

Fashion Fights Poverty, a Washington, DC based 501c3, began in 2005 as an eco-ethical fashion show. Since then, FFP has evolved into a non-profit organization that raises awareness and contributes to initiatives that encourage and support creative, effective, and sustainable means of challenging poverty. It is one the largest non-profit ethical and eco fashion organizations in the United States, and the first eco fashion charity in DC. FFP honors designers who employ ethical practices and provides a forum for dialogue and awareness building about how fashion, textiles, and design can alleviate poverty and empower communities.

At Fashion Boot Camp, students engaged in creative classes to boost their self-esteem and learn the basics of the fashion industry -- styling, production, design, photography, and modeling -- integrated with eco-ethical principles. Professionals currently working in the fashion industry and Fashion Fights Poverty volunteers taught the classes, including:

◦ Aidah Fontenot: Acclaimed Local Eco/Ethical Designer And Fashion Fights Poverty 2009 Alum
◦ Kimberly Goldson: Ethical Designer And Project Runway Season 9 Finalist
◦ Kiah Rhodes: Fashion Blogger And Do-It-Yourself Expert

FFP aims to alleviate poverty through creativity by teaching our future generations to be socially responsible. As you'll see in the video, these 14 young ladies took identical, affordable, plain white t-shirts and transformed them into trendy works of art. It may seem like a small project, but it will stay with them for a lifetime and impact their future decisions.

USAgain, a textile recycling firm, has drawn up an infographic that outlines the environmental impact of the most common item of clothing: the T-shirt (see below). Most startling, according to the EPA, is that 11.1 million TONS of textiles are trashed in the U.S. each year. This gets to the heart of the issue that FFP is addressing. FFP is about action and promoting positive behavior. FFP is not telling people to stop shopping. Rather, they are showing opportunities to do so responsibly and, in the process, engage organizations and enterprises that use fashion, design and creativity as a means of addressing the most important issues of our time.

For more information and ideas, visit the Fashion Fights Poverty website and check out HooplaHa for more inspiring videos.