Teizue Nwabuzoh wearing coat made of recycled denim by Chloe Archie at “RUNWAY 2019: Kaleidoscope” SF State”s Apparel Design & Merchandising program’s annual showcase of junior and senior work on May 9, 2019. (JAMES CHAN/Golden Gate Xpress)
Reused and upcycled materials were some of the sustainable assets in this year’s annual fashion show at SF State.
The “Runway 2019: Kaleidoscope” fashion show took place on May 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Annex I building. The show was put together by apparel design and merchandising students and featured student designers and models.
The show was divided into three themes: disability designs, senior collections and reused designs. The reused designs theme was the newest addition to the annual fashion show. Many pieces in the show were created from recycled denim, edible plants, pineapple leaves and bio-grown leather. These materials highlighted how high fashion could be made from sustainable, eco-friendly materials.
It the show, three scholarships were awarded to SF State student designers for their sustainable designs.
According to SF State students and Wear Movement volunteers Alex Dickinson and Idia Aikhionbare, the Wear Movement is a program for SF State students and faculty to donate their used and unwanted clothing.
Dickinson brought leftover denim to the design department to recycle and use in their fashion show.
“We collected a lot of clothing the first time we opened in February. We collected a lot of denim that we didn’t think would sell,” Dickinson said. “We packaged it all up in a bag and we carried it up to the design room for the fashion show so they could use raw material to create.”
Aikhionbare believes that practicing sustainability by reusing clothing is important.
“By collecting clothing and redistributing [it], we are keeping clothing out of the landfill and giving [it a new life,” she said. “A lot of clothing is made from fibers like polyester that won’t degrade, so they just sit in the landfill. Most of it can be reused and enjoyed by someone else.”
The recycled denim distributed by the Wear Movement was used in 15 different garments created by students at the fashion show.
Chloe Archie, a 23-year-old fashion design student, showcased a patchwork trench coat made from the recycled denim.
Archie said that while at first she was intimidated by using different recycled denim samples, her design eventually worked out.
“I put the patterns in between the materials I was given and then, to be honest, I didn’t think it was going to work out, but it
all came together,” she said.
Twenty-one-year-old fashion design student Maitreyee Dhodapkar made a dress out of recycled denim lined with lace and a floral fabric.
According to Dhodapkar, the recycled denim presented a useful challenge in her design process.
“It was pretty hard to construct it. I’ve never worked with denim before, so sewing everything was a little hard,” she said. “This pattern kind of caught my eye and it went really well with lace, so I used this as a combo with the jean.”
Design student Benjamin Mu, 25, created a jacket and trench coat both made from bio-grown leather. The student designer, originally from China, was also one of the scholarship recipients.
Mu said his featured garments were made with his favorite fabrics, silk and wool, as well as all-natural materials.
“I wanted a unique trench coat,” Mu said. “By doing leather construction with pearls on top, [it] gives it a new twist.”
Mu believes that being a sustainable designer in the fashion industry is important for many reasons, but especially because the fashion industry contributes to a great deal of landfill waste.
“A lot of clothes are fast fashion,” Mu said. “They are not made with good fabric or good construction so people don’t cherish them at all
and just dump them after a few wears.”
After creating his own line of sustainable designs, Mu stresses the significance of clothing made with environmentally-friendly materials and made by well-paid workers in a safe work environment.
“It’s important to design and make quality clothes with sustainable supply chains and labor,” Mu said. “It’s going to be more expensive, but
people just need a few pieces to keep them for decades or resell them instead of buying cheaply made clothes and throwing them away.”
Professor and chair of the family interiors nutrition and apparel department Connie Ulasewicz oversaw the fashion show and appreciated design students’ ability to promote sustainability.
“It is important to reuse and remake clothing because of the water and chemicals used to manufacture them,” Ulasewicz said. “We must keep our textile products like our clothing out of landfills.”