Apparel Design & Merchandising

SF State students give fresh look to unwanted clothing through repair and redesign

SF State Apparel Design & Merchandising students working on their garment designs for the Goodwill pilot project.

Apparel Design & Merchandising students repurpose unsellable garments through University partnership

The city sends about 4,500 pounds of textiles to landfills every hour, according to the San Francisco Department of the Environment (SFE). That adds up to more than 39 million pounds of textile waste a year from San Francisco alone. The good news is that San Francisco State University students are lending their hands (and designs) to help reduce these daunting numbers. How? Through garment repair and redesign.

San Francisco State has formed partnerships with local organizations to give Apparel Design & Merchandising students a unique opportunity: using textiles from damaged and unwanted clothes donated to Goodwill to create new sellable pieces. This opportunity was made possible through a pilot project funded by SFE in partnership with the California Product Stewardship Council and Goodwill of the San Francisco Bay.

The project aims to strengthen California’s sustainability efforts by diverting textile waste from landfill. In turn, it also focuses on opportunities for textile reuse and renovation while bringing awareness to the need for upcycled clothing.

“The strong partnerships developed through this project highlight how a successful textile recovery and repair system supports local jobs and diverts textiles from the landfill,” said SF State Professor Emerita of Apparel Design & Merchandising Connie Ulasewicz, who helped facilitate the University’s part in this project. “It also provides the knowledge and understanding of how to keep our textiles in long-term use.”

During the Spring semester of 2022, under the guidance of Lecturer of Apparel Design & Merchandising Nancy Martin, several students initiated the pilot project. This fall, students enrolled in “Apparel Design II: Draping” continue to create these upcycled clothes under the guidance of Martin and Lecturer of Apparel Design & Merchandising Kamal Ragbotra.

Along the way, students will fully immerse themselves in the design process — from sketching to construction — while also learning the history and perspectives in the development of innovative apparel designs. Upon completion, garments will be returned to Goodwill to be sold online.

“Through this course, students will do much more than recycle old clothes by giving them a new redefined look,” Ragbotra said. “They’ll get a completely hands-on experience that also teaches students the importance of sustainable fashion and increasing the shelf life of garments.”

SF State senior London Deutsch says what she loves about the class focuses on freedom of expression, igniting her creativity. “It’s fun to be able have a more free, open-ended project,” said Deutsch, who is expected to graduate Spring 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in Apparel Design & Merchandising. “It was fun to sketch something out and envision how to make it from something that was falling apart to something that has our own personal flair.”

Deutsch also appreciates how Ragbotra personalizes her teaching based on skill level. “We are in an upper-level class at this point. A lot of us are juniors or seniors,” she said. “We’re pretty capable; we know how to do most of the tasks. I appreciate how she can recognize that.”

The students are expected to finish their garments later this semester. To learn more about the Apparel Design and Merchandising major, visit its web page.

Republished from SF State News

Diverting fashion from landfill: Goodwill connects with Apparel Design & Merchandising students for clothing redesign

Giving damaged or unwanted clothes a second life brings significant benefits to the planet and our community. Currently, there is low awareness and very few options to repair, recover or reuse damaged garments, so they often end up in local landfills — an estimated 4,500 pounds per hour in San Francisco. Goodwill sees many valuable, damaged items through community donations and wants better options to get the damaged garments back into the community for reuse to support their sustainability goals and create local jobs. A collaborative local pilot project, with participation by students in the Apparel Design & Merchandising (ADM) program at San Francisco State University, is designing solutions to this problem. 

The Diverting Fashion from Landfill project called for fashion designers, fashion design students, innovators, manufacturers, menders, and tailors from across the state willing to take in unwanted clothing and textiles to repair or make new products. Funded by the San Francisco Department of the Environment (SFE) in partnership with the California Product Stewardship Council and Goodwill of the San Francisco Bay, the project aims to strengthen California’s sustainable efforts by increasing textile waste diversion and expanding opportunities for textile reuse, repair and renovation while encouraging greater awareness of the need for a circular textile economy. 

Garment cleaning and repairing are not new industries. Repurposing clothes for commercial resale is an emerging cottage industry in the Bay Area. Savvy Green Cleaners and Designing a Difference, a contract manufacturer founded by ADM alumna Rebecca Cahua, also participated in the pilot through garment cleaning and repair.  

“We plan to expand the strong partnerships developed through this project and continue to provide the knowledge and understanding of how to keep our textiles in use,” says ADM faculty member Ivana Markova. ADM students will continue to support the project in the coming semesters through their redesign of Goodwill donated garments.

Stop by LIB 121 on September 27 between 10 a.m. and noon to learn more about the project, see garments from the project, and meet community project collaborators. Come to be inspired to take action and understand the contributions you can make to support textile life extension.

Exhibition: Diverting Fashion from Landfill

The Diverting Fashion from Landfill project called for fashion designers, fashion design students, innovators, manufacturers, menders and tailors from across the state willing to take in unwanted clothing and textiles to repair or make new products. SF State Apparel Design & Merchandising (ADM) students have participated in this project.

Funded by the San Francisco Department of the Environment (SFE) in partnership with the California Product Stewardship Council and Goodwill of the San Francisco Bay, the project aims to strengthen California’s sustainable efforts by increasing textile waste diversion and expanding opportunities for textile reuse, repair and renovation while encouraging greater awareness of the need for a circular textile economy.

All are welcome to view garments from the repair pilot, which will be showcased at this event in the SF State campus Library Events Room, LIB 121, on September 27 from 10 a.m. to noon. ADM students will continue to support the project in the coming semesters through their redesign of Goodwill donated garments. Be inspired to take action and understand the contributions you can make to support textile life extension.

Read more about the project

Apparel Design & Merchandising Students present annual Runway fashion show

San Francisco State University's Apparel Design & Merchandising program is pleased to present RUNWAY 2022 BLOOM: Turning a New Leaf. After two years of staying at home, we are excited to host the first live, back-in-person fashion show since the pandemic. More than 90 innovative designs will be showcased on the runway by SF State’s very own design seniors. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to witness the future of fashion!

SF State Apparel Design & Merchandising students, in collaboration with the Fashion Network Association and SF State's Disability Programs and Resource Center, announces the 27th annual student fashion show RUNWAY. One of our senior designers, Claire Gonsalves, has created a collection “inspired by female exotic dancers,” and her goal is to “encapsulate the beauty, thrill, and freedom without society's preconceived judgment.” Overall, our mission is to exemplify diversity, equity and inclusivity in the fashion realm without compromising art and creativity. On the runway, senior designers will showcase their final collections, a culmination of everything they have learned during their time at SF State. In addition, junior designers are crafting unique designs for disability models, emphasizing that quality fashion can cater to anyone and everyone! Following years of hardship that the pandemic created, we are now seeing designers push limits of their creativity to represent individuals and their fashionable expression.

The event will take place on Friday, May 6 on the SF State campus at Cesar Chavez Quad (Malcolm X Plaza). The show will start at 12 p.m. with an after-party at the Seven Hills Conference Center, Nob Hill Room. The show is
completely FREE, no ticket required. (all COVID-19 protocols must be followed to be present on campus.)

For more information, visit the RUNWAY 2022 BLOOM website  and Instagram.