By SARAH KELLY
As she walks barefoot down College Avenue, environmental ecience major Meryl Monfort would look more in place in the fields of Woodstock than in a classroom. Her look is as effortless as it is ethereal, proving that simplicity in fashion is an element often overlooked.
Her burnt orange maxi dress was a find at the Salvation Army for $3; her heather wrap sweater from the sale rack at Target. Her look is accented by a purple ring, which Monfort made herself out of a silk flower and wire.
“I just thought it was cute,” Monford said of the ring.
It is this carefree, cheerful attitude that is reflected in her views on environmentally friendly fashion. For Monfort, helping the planet through her choice of clothing has become a way of life. When asked about her apparent lack of footwear, Monfort explained she’s taking part in a one day awareness campaign for Tom’s Shoes.
The company, founded on the statement that for every pair you buy, they will buy one for a child in need, held this campaign in order to emphasize how the majority of us take something as essential as the ability to afford shoes for granted.
“It’s kind of like walking through what their lives would be like for a day,” said Monfort.
When asked how her focus on environmentalism influences her own style, Monfort stated that she tries her best to purchase used clothes in addition to upcycled clothes.
The idea of “upcycling” has recently become popular on fashion sites, such as Etsy. It entails a process of re-purposing second-hand clothing and other materials in order to create new garments.
“It’s better for the environment but it’s also affordable.” Monfort said of the trend.
In lieu of looking to designers or fashion icons, Monfort sees her personal style as something of an evocation stemming from the world around her.
“ I try and be creative with it.” she says of the way she puts her look together.
One of her biggest sources of inspiration, both in environmentalism and fashion, stems from the months she spent in Panama last year as an intern for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
While abroad, Monfort got the chance to experience a new culture by getting to know the people she met there. She found Panama to be a less materialistic country, a value that stayed with her long after her return home.
“People can’t just go off and buy a look, they have to create it themselves,” Monfort said of the country’s economically conscious take on fashion.
When asked why she made the choice to become an environmental science major, Monfort stated “I’ve always cared about environmental issues. I decided to become an environmental science major so I could help change the world in a positive way.”
Monfort’s take on fashion stands to show that environmentalism can be just as effortless as throwing on a dress. Even if you can’t be at Woodstock.