There is nothing I love more than a trendy statement. This upcycled, DIY jacket just so happens to be one of mine. I found this wonderful Army jacket in downtown Goshen at the Gift of Gab for $15.

A few months ago, I had my heart set on buying an Army jacket. The Army print was everywhere — on the runway, in the stores and magazines and on everyone around me. As a fashionista, I am constantly looking for the latest trends to add to my wardrobe. So getting an Army jacket was a no-brainer. Or was it?

To me, something didn’t quite feel right. I am a peaceful Pacifist and wearing an Army jacket that symbolizes war, fighting and killing others didn’t add up in my head. Don’t get me wrong — I am grateful for the soldiers and officers who risk their lives every day to protect our country. I respect those who choose to do that, and I can support them as a loving neighbor and fellow citizen. However, I cannot support the war effort and the killing of others.

So what does a peace-loving Pacifist look like dressed in an Army jacket? Well, that’s where a little modification and sequin fabric comes in.

I’m not sure where the idea came from, but one day it hit me. I can take a personal stance without even having to say a word! I can have my cake and eat it too, by being both trendy and upholding my personal views. And how I did that was by adding a large sequin peace sign on the back of my Army jacket.

Without words, this symbol communicates a lot. I’m hoping that, to the people around me, it communicates something that goes far beyond the symbolism of an Army jacket: a passion for peace and love.

When I wear my Army jacket, I don’t feel conflicted. I can support my country and its people while also feeling strong in my personal views. And I can do all that without exhaustion of speech or words. Symbols are powerful statements, and whenever I wear my upcycled Army jacket, I’m making one.

Rachel Smucker is a sophomore public relations major. Smucker writes regular blog posts about fashion and thrifting for