A jumble of mannequins and measuring tape provides the backdrop for apparel design student Becky Tu as she pins the sleeve on an upcycled ’90s-inspired bomber jacket. Its waterproof shell is made with a deconstructed umbrella.
Tu, 27, has been pinning and patterning, pulling 12-hour workdays with her peers in preparation for “Runway 2016: Emerge,” SF State’s 21st annual fashion show, which will be held at the San Francisco Design Center Galleria April 28 at 7 p.m.
“I’ve been in the lab for a good 36 hours in the past three-and-a-half days,” Tu said. “I’m having so much fun seeing what kind of ideas come to life. But honestly, finishing the whole thing – that’s most rewarding.”
Part of the show will feature designs by Tu and her flat-pattern classmates, constructed from faulty, unsellable products donated by the SF State Bookstore. This is the third year the fashion show features “reuse” collections and the second year the bookstore provided the materials, according to apparel design professor and Bookstore Advisory Committee member Connie Ulasewicz.
“We’re really trying to educate students, faculty and those that come to the show (about textile waste and reuse possibilities),” Ulasewicz said. “It’s a very different approach to creative design.”
Student athletes will model the repurposed garments in the fashion show, which Ulasewicz said is a fun way to get the campus community involved.
“They’re used to playing sports together, so they’re sort of playing down the runway,” she said.
Basketball player Jon McMurry, a 23-year-old kinesiology student, will model Tu’s colorblocked bomber jacket and drop-crotch jogger pants. He said he’s never participated in a fashion show but he’s excited to walk the runway.
“Some of my teammates did it last year and I heard good things about it,” McMurry said. “No idea what to expect, but I think it’ll be fun.”
Bookstore director Husam Erciyes said damaged retail is typically thrown away, so he’s glad to see students recycling the material and promoting sustainability awareness. He said he looks forward to seeing the products transform.
“Last year I was really impressed,” Erciyes said. “We collected items throughout the year and they used that merchandise for their designs. … For example, the letters (may be) misprinted; maybe somebody was putting it on and there’s a makeup (stain) that you can’t get out.”
Apparel design major Sydney Beres, 20, flipped a stained sweatshirt inside-out and added laser-cut leather detailing at the neck, the remnants of an unwanted camel-colored handbag.
“It’s hard to imagine what you can make with this stuff,” Beres said. “There were a lot of sweaters, T-shirts, baseball hats and random things like purses, books and coffee cups. It was definitely interesting to work with such unconventional things.”
Danielle Hickethier, 24, agreed. She said she had never considered designing with damaged goods.
“It kind of puts a funky spin on new designs,” Hickethier said. “(The project) has me thinking of how I could incorporate (reuse) into my designs later on and be more conscientious of waste.”
“Runway 2016: Emerge” tickets are priced from $10 to $40 and available through Eventbrite.com.