Circular Fashion Expo prepares to strut onto


Jacob Slabosz

Last semester, the Circular Fashion Expo was held on Oct. 29 in the Siebel Center for Design. CFE.3 will take und Place on Friday at the same location, and the runway will begin at 6 p.m.

Live music, a runway show and a public clothing swap. All events are free to attend. The Circular Fashion Expo, the largest fashion event at the University, is set to occur Friday at the Siebel Center for Design.

“For any student conscious about their clothing and environmental consumption, this event is a day for you,” said William Hohe, lead organizer of the CFE.

This will be the third Expo since the show’s inception in the spring of 2022. The core purpose of the Expo, which is to “give students the power to create a thriving circular economy for fashion,” according to their website, has not changed. 

Their description for a circular economy is described to be an economic model that uses methods such as upcycling and resale to keep textiles out of landfills, with the Expo serving as an outlet for students to partake in the concept hands-on.

Beginning at 11 a.m., the Expo plans to host over 10 artists to provide live music. It will also have clothes-swapping events, where attendees can donate their old clothes and browse and purchase from others. 

There are also featured student art galleries, as well as sewing and screen printing demonstrations. Food trucks will also be available nearby.

The event will bring over 70 vendors until 5:30 p.m., which are all screened by Circular Fashion, Hohe said. They will offer a range of clothing items and accessories, from an eco-friendly pair of earrings to a crop top made from recycled material.

The runway competition, themed around “Danse Macabre,” French for “Dance of the Death,” will usher in the finale of the Expo at 6 p.m. 

Described as a “risque” and “eerie” “allegory on horror,” the Expo exhibits the theme’s main motifs with a moodboard on their Instagram account. Models are colored in deep burgundy and black while interposed against illustrations of medieval skeletons. 

Student designers and designers based in Champaign and Chicago will walk the runway to show off their designs. Attendees can vote for the winning designs until midnight. The awards will be revealed Saturday.

“We decided on this theme because of the contrast and juxtaposition it has against springtime,” Hohe said. “Along that, it reminds people of the fragility we rely on to consume and produce fashion. In many ways, this theme is a protest against fast fashion.”

Last semester, a student-made fashion brand, Bad for Your Health, won the Expo Runway competition and swept $1,000 in awards.

“Not only is this event now (consistently once a semester) … it is a chance to get involved in something so much larger,” Hohe said. “In many ways, when you think of the University of Illinois, fashion is not the first thing that comes to mind.”

“Making space for the arts in the community and campus is vital … but (it is) your support (that makes) this Expo the most multifaceted and collaborative exposition on campus,” Hohe said.


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