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Students learn sustainability issues in fashion and apparel

Students in Anupama Pasricha's "Advanced Construction" class have royalty on their minds. They're currently redesigning second-hand outfits into royal-themed garments for the Express Yourself Clothing store's "Clothes Have Dreams Too... Holiday Trunk Show" in November.

Pasricha, an assistant professor of fashion and apparel at St. Catherine University, recently established the partnership with the nonprofit St. Paul consignment store — also a social enterprise that teaches young women how to operate a small business — as another way to encourage sustainability issues in future designers.

“The students are learning how to create garments using upfashioning, a way of recycling clothing into more fashion-forward or innovative and creative items,” Pasricha explains.

Topics related to environmental and social responsibility are woven throughout St. Kate’s apparel design program. In addition to creating sustainable fashion, the advanced garment construction course also emphasizes tailoring, fitting, support structures and formalwear techniques. Students have a coat, a strapless dress and a project in leather on their semester to-do list. 

“This class is laborious and time consuming, but we go away with great skills that last us a lifetime,” says apparel design major Melissa Peterson ’13. 

On Wednesday, Peterson and her seven classmates spent nearly an hour at Express Yourself Clothing. Each student was allowed to select three items to upfashion for the store's trunk show. They can also spend up to $10 to complete their garments. (For example, on thread, interfacing, beading or other fabrics.)

The store will track their progress at and In-store voting for the people’s choice award will run November 4-6. Guest judges will present the critics’ choice award at the trunk show on November 16.

All the garments will go on sale after the event, with proceeds going toward Express Yourself's urban internship program.

Donate your clothing

This fall, St. Kate's students can bring their gently used clothing to a collection box at the Department of Family, Consumer and Nutritional Sciences in Fontbonne Hall. Professor Pasricha will donate them to Express Yourself Clothing.

The store is part of Urban Business Adventures under its Youth Express initiative.

Editor's Note: At the trunk show on Nov. 16, Lauren Cici '12 won Judges's Choice Award and June Yang-Gungsing '13 won People's Choice Award.

Oct. 17, 2011 by Pauline Oo

See also: Business, Faculty, Liberal Arts, Social Justice, Students