SF State's Runway 2012 fashion show showcases secondhand clothing

Apparel Merchandise Design SFSU
SF State's apparel design student, Sultana Lodin (right) looks at her model, international relations student Sophia Zhu, as they practice walking with the dress that Lodin designed for the Runway 2012 fashion show, which will be held Thursday, May 3. The Runway 2012 fashion show will be presented by SF State's Apparel Design & Merchandising department to showcase designs of graduating students. Photo by Hang Cheng.

Armed with scissors, pins and sewing machines, students in the Advanced Apparel Design Problems class transformed clothing they found at a Goodwill store into new and trendy outfits that will grace the runway along with their senior collections tomorrow at “Runway 2012: Defined.”

The Fashion Network Association’s Spring 2012 fashion show not only gives students an opportunity to show off their work, but is also the culmination of a project created by three SF State professors who teamed up with Goodwill to promote sustainability.

Professors Connie Ulasewicz, of apparel merchandise and design, Hamid Khani, of broadcast and electronic communication arts, and Kathy O’Donnell, of marketing, wanted to find a community engagement that students from all of these areas could be involved with. Their goal was to promote the used-clothes recycler to a younger generation of college students.

The marketing students conducted surveys to find out why students did or didn’t shop there. The people from broadcast and electronic communication arts turned that information into a visual, and those from ADM created window displays at two Goodwill stores with the outfits they made.

“These students are millennial students and have a better idea of what students and other people want, so they can help support the concept of Goodwill, so all of us together are making a difference,” Ulasewicz said.

This was the first time that professor Adrian Leong had given this assignment to his design students, who work on their required senior fashion collection in his Advanced Apparel and Design Problems class. Each student was given a $15 voucher that they could spend at the Goodwill As-Is Store, which is where clothes from the other Bay Area Goodwill stores go after they have surpassed their shelf life of four weeks. The students were given 30 minutes to search through the large blue bins and racks of used clothes. Each piece sold for just a few dollars before the store was open to the general public.

“We’re really excited about it,” Leong said. “We got the product, we cut it up, we remade it into fashion product that the students can relate to.”

Turning old clothes into something new is known as upcycling, and was something that all the students were familiar from past classes because the ADM program is very focused on environmental consciousness in fashion. In February, a group of ADM students held a similar event called Designing a Difference.

Sultana Lodin is a 26-year-old senior who turned a knit top into an infinity scarf, a men’s blazer and corduroy pants into a paneled mini skirt and redesigned a men’s silk blouse by cutting off the sleeves and shortening the length in the front and back.

Lodin has been doing it with her own clothes for years, by turning old pants into skinny jeans and adding new pockets to her clothes to change them up a bit.

“It’s really important to practice sustainability in your life because it’s good for the environment,” Lodin said. “I think it’s really cool that we are doing this project to show that you can do a lot with Goodwill clothing and old products.”

The outfits will be featured on the runway the night of May 3 at 7 p.m. at The Galleria at the San Francisco Design Center, located at 101 Henry Adams St. Tickets range from $15 to $25.

SFSU fashion show
SF State apparel design student Qian Mo-Falgrairette sews her dress that she designed for the Runway 2012 fashion show, April 25. The Runway 2012 fashion show is presented by SF State's Apparel Design & Merchandising department to showcase designs of graduating students. Photo by Hang Cheng.