For the 2nd year in a row, Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona has partnered with Pima Community College’s Fashion Styling Class. The PCC Fashion students are tasked with upcycling clothing found at Goodwill stores into high fashion garments for the 2020 PCC FashionArte Show in May.

Project Profile – Karina Ochoa

The guiding principle behind Karina’s design is simplicity. While many of her classmates chose to combine several garments into a finished ensemble, Karina only got one item from Goodwill: a size 4X pink dress.

“It’s an old lady dress,” Karina says with a smile. “I’m thinking of turning it into a two piece. Like a skirt and a top. I’ll cut it up and see how it goes.”

The concept of giving clothes a new life resonates well with Karina’s ultimate goals. She says, “My goals, as cheesy as they are, are to make a difference. I come from a family who didn’t really have much, and my grandma would make me clothes. So I know what it’s like for someone to grab a rag off the floor and make me a doll.  I know what it’s like to struggle and maybe help others who need it would be very nice.”

Impact of Upcycling

Karina defines upcycling as, “Making something that is already nice into something even better. Something made for you. Something that you would like.” Beyond the aesthetics, the ecological impact is especially important. In addition to making a difference, Karina also has a lofty environmental goal for her career. “I want to help the planet because we only have one,” she says. “The fashion industry is one of the biggest damaging industries to our planet. What doesn’t sell gets sent to landfills.”

Upcycling is an important and growing trend in the fashion industry. The rise of fast fashion (cheap, disposable, mass produced clothing) has led to an increase in landfill volume as well strains on resources needed to produce all new material. As the original recycler, Goodwill helps with that problem by offering used clothing a new life while also keeping 30 million pounds of materials out of Southern Arizona landfills per year.

Community Impact

In addition to the benefits of upcycling, shopping at Goodwill stores also directly supports our community in Tucson. Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona invests nearly every penny earned back into the community through job training, youth mentoring, and employment for Southern Arizonans who need a hand up providing better lives for themselves and their families. Visit for more information on how they’re benefiting  our community.

About Goodwill of Southern Arizona

The mission of Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona has always been to provide a “hand up” to those looking to provide a better life for themselves and their families. We believe that jobs are transformational; they can strengthen both the community and families through the POWER OF WORK.

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