The global fashion industry is one of the most resource-intensive industries in the world. Emerging designers from the University of Minnesota’s College of Apparel Design program are reimagining this process in (RE)generation. On April 25 the Weisman will host the annual Design Showcase.
Inspired by WAM’s exhibition Vanishing Ice, each student will present a ready-for-the-runway garment, focused on the reusing and recycling of material. By considering all stages of production from material, construction, consumer use, and eventual disposal, these designers hope to shine a light on the ecological cost of the fashion industry and ultimately make changes for a healthier planet.
Scroll down to learn more about each designer.
Maxine is an apparel design student focused in gender neutral fashion, specializing in ready-to-wear clothing that prioritizes comfort and self-expression for wearers of all genders.
Maxine’s design is a statement about greenwashing in the fashion industry, a concept that arises when companies pitch a sustainable brand image to capitalize on conscious consumers. This idea that a clean exterior masks hazardous practices, became the jumping off point for her project. Maxine created a dress and vest made of thick, white ribbed plastic. The dress stands out in a stiff A-line silhouette and is embellished with assorted white tech parts and optical wires twisted to mimic lace. Both garments were constructed through draping and hand sewing, along with hot glue for embellishments. While this design evokes a sterile appearance from its all-white palette and clean shapes, watch it transform to display the dangers of greenwashing. Maxine hopes to promote a dialogue about what it really means to be sustainable in the fashion industry, not simply capitalizing on an image of sustainability.
I have enjoyed learning about apparel design and manufacturing at the U. I have learned the harmful ways and the new ways we can change the process for the better.
Karolina Doran created her garment to reflect the effect of the harmful chemical dyes used in the apparel industry. These dyes and chemicals find their way into rivers and water sources that are used for irrigation and contaminate local plants and crops in the places that produce clothing. The garment was constructed using ¼ inch chicken wire and ¼ inch burlap netting, both of which are used often in farming and gardening. Black duct tape, acrylic paint, and hot glue were utilized as symbols of the harsh chemicals and dyes used in the fashion industry. The flower petals start as a natural color in the middle and slowly transition to an oozing, inky black color as they get further away from the center. Karolina wants to bring attention to the effect of dyes and chemicals on plants, surrounding communities, and the planet.
Andrea Dunrud is a sophomore studying apparel design with a minor in communications. She enjoys designing trendy women’s styles with an environmentally friendly viewpoint.
The inspiration for Andrea's design comes from the waste generated from fast fashion production cycles. There are currently fifty-two micro-seasons hitting the catwalk every year, and as fashion production cycles have gotten faster our water resources are depleting. Andrea’s garment shows the present and future of our fashion industry. The top of the garment exposes current production cycles and the overuse of resources. The cape is made out of conveyor belt sandpaper, VHS film, and woven wire—none of which can currently be recycled or safely discarded. The bottom portion of the ensemble represents a hope for the future with a sleeveless pencil dress constructed from gray stretch cotton and a cellophane skirt (a biodegradable material). Through education and utilizing the media, we can uncover solutions to cut back on the use of water resources and reconstruct environmentally friendly ways of producing fashion.
Abby is wrapping up her second year in apparel design. Her love of creativity, fashion, and anything that sparkles will propel her aspiration of working within the bridal industry.
The inspiration for Abby’s garment came from textile pollution, particularly the water pollution from dye effluents (liquid waste). Dyeing and finishing are one of the highest contributors to the influence of global pollution within the apparel industry. It has such a powerful impact on the environment and climate change because of its’ reliance on fossil-based energy along with high energy consumption during processing. Images were were collected of dye pollution in the water and garments were ideated to incorporate free-flowing silhouettes, and varieties in texture and transparencies to represent characteristics of water and movement.
Abby created this dress from plastic bags and loofahs. The dress was designed to appear as if liquid dye waste was slowly contaminating the rest of the dress. The gradation from the bodice to the skirt conveys said contamination. The asymmetrical hem reflects the uncontaminated water and what little of it is left.
My work is creative, fun, and chock-full of my love for pop culture. I love to design bold statement pieces!
While gathering research for this project, Ian dove deep into how the fashion industry contributes to pollution in our water. The research focused on a heavily polluted river in Indonesia and how people have to use it despite the textile industry waste. His design, Patchwork Pollution, is inspired by the relationship between privilege and water resources, illustrating through fashion how society tries to package pollution in a glamorous way. The goal of his design is to show how the effects of water pollution cannot be contained, no matter how hard one tries. To convey this complex inspiration, Ian’s design is created using non-traditional materials. Clear plastic pouches are filled with simulated toxic water and then patch-worked together into an exaggerated kimono-style jacket. The dripping liquid jacket covers up stark white swimwear-inspired separates to show the contrast between the water pollution and the industry that is causing the pollution.
Gina Jostes is a designer whose inspiration stems from historical garments and fashion subcultures. Her designs usually feature a clean fit, interesting style lines, and contrasting materials.
Gina Jostes’s design represents how humans affect the environment—invading it and then artificially patching it back up. An image from the Vanishing Ice exhibit of an explorer ship amidst pristine ice, inspired the contrast of industry breaking into nature. This was combined with the juxtaposition of ‘clean’ fashion that’s created by apparel factories who dump their dye into nearby rivers. Apparel industry water pollution creates rippling effects: first to the animals, then to plants dependent on the water, until the unnatural color has bled through the entire surrounding environment. These ideas were translated into the design through clean, unpolluted vinyl, a metal cage, and a paint covered skirt of flowers within it. Together they represent the cycle of poisonous dye destroying nature, caged by the need to keep industrializing. Gina’s garment was created to challenge traditional material combinations by integrating pieces used for their utilitarian purposes and pieces that exist for their aesthetic.
I am a sophomore studying apparel design. I am passionate about design as well as helping others, and finding where those two intersect.
The initial thoughts for this design came from assorted pieces from the Vanishing Ice exhibit at the museum. Many of the artworks featured stark white snow and ice next to dark blue water, contrasting beauty and danger. The dress was created to symbolize that dichotomy, and is constructed completely out of plastic from trash bags, grocery bags, and disposable table cloths. Plastic was chosen as the material due to its inability to biodegrade in a timely fashion. Plastic textiles are currently being developed, so the material symbolizes where the fashion industry is headed. Hand sewing techniques as well as melting the plastic with an iron were used to create this garment. The right shoulder is large and voluminous, using thickened trash bags to create icicle-type shapes. These shapes are meant to bring some sharpness to the dress, while the water is smooth and flowing, more indicative of its natural state.
Riley Kelly likes to focus her work on historical designs that add fun and flair to everyone’s lives!
Riley Kelly is the designer of the piece titled Warrior. She designed this piece drawing inspiration from the idea that the earth uses ice as a form of protection the way people use clothes. Riley wanted to challenge the way the fashion industry is always creating new materials for clothing, creating waste. She wanted to use a material that wasn’t currently being used, and could therefore be up-cycled into something far different from its intended purpose. The thinner wire used in this design is EDM wire, which is used in many types of manufacturing, and is from Riley’s dad’s company. The thinner wire was wrapped around the thicker wire, which was purchased, to give the piece the stability it needed to be worn. The look was inspired by armor used for soldiers and warriors throughout history, and brought to present day with a modern, high fashion twist.
Born and raised in Duluth Minnesota, Abigail Mitchell is a dedicated artist with a passion for fashion. She is pursuing both a degree in Art and Apparel Design here at the U of M. She loves to spend her spare time playing music or hanging out with her wonderfully wacky friends and family.
Icescape is a reflection on the Vanishing Ice exhibit, and the textures of the ice as it melts into water through the lens of the apparel industry. Using recycled and found materials such as plastic bags, paper, old leather belt strips, Q-Tips, ropes and an old portfolio bag, the garment illustrates the captivating textures of melting ice.The construction process consisted of cutting and gluing small materials to a lace-up bodice made from a plastic portfolio bag. Simple knotting and macrame techniques were used to construct the skirt.
The drying up of the Aral Sea to feed cotton farms in Central Asia, was a strong inspiration for Abigail and is shown in the skirt of the garment as the ropes drastically change in length and color. By illustrating the loss of life sustaining water taken by the cotton industry, Abigail hopes to start a dialogue on sustainable clothing solutions and how cotton may not be the quick fix we hope it to be.
I am a sophomore in the Apparel Design program at the University of Minnesota, looking to explore modest-wear for women across various diverse backgrounds.
Warda Moosa’s concept she explored for this project was the effect of the fashion industry on climate change and how the melting of ice is causing communities to be threatened and create a wave of climate refugees. This garment was constructed because Warda saw the need to evoke a human emotion that helps people become more informed about the impact of the global fashion industry at all levels of our environment. The designer’s garment consists of a top with flared sleeves that is covered with laser-cut ice shards. The skirt is pleated and made out of a plastic table cover. The black plastic at the bottom of the skirt showcases polluted water bodies. Gems scattered throughout the garment represent the effect of climate change on the displacement of communities throughout the world.
I decided to learn how to make clothing on little more than a whim. It's the best whim I have ever followed.
The shape, form, and theme of Dylan Osvold’s design is derived from the concepts of natural ice and humanity’s fire. The designs are meant to convey the consequences of manipulating nature and allowing resources to burn. The top is constructed with six pieces of vellum that take the shape of petals. A single decorative snap is affixed to the center left of the top. Styrene icicles on a custom spun wire hang under the top two petals. The skirt panels are arranged in a diagonal orientation that fit the hips. A triple wire holds the vellum at the waist. The bottom and sides of the vellum are burned for aesthetic purposes. Attached to the bottom of the skirt are chaotic wires painted black to reinforce the burned feeling.
Allison Pham is interested in contemporary fashion focusing on geometric shapes. She is an aspiring apparel designer.
Allison Pham focused on garment creation in the fashion industry effects climate change and the ability of fashion to cause us to “look away”. She was inspired by Aletsch Glacier #4 in the Vanishing Ice exhibit, which examines the fragility of humans without clothes, just like earth without glaciers. The top of the garment was constructed using holographic scare tape to represent ice beginning to break. The ice transitions into the back of the garment that lies on top of black netting. The netting is a representation of a wall that is blocking humans from seeing the destruction of our actions. It is placed underneath the ice to allow the viewers to take notice of the fragility of the ice structures. Allison hopes viewers of her design will reflect upon the importance of glaciers and ice to the earth’s ecosystem, and will encourage individuals to adopt awareness and sustainable practices for a better environment.
Abigail Talapa is from Wisconsin where she lives with her Mom, Dad, Sister, and Dog. She aspires to create wearable designs that reflect the reusability of items
Human health is most impacted by pollution from fossil fuels used to generate heat and energy during the fiber and yarn preparation process. Inspired to reduce fashion’s footprint, Abigail Talapa began researching ways to incorporate personal connections into textile creation. While reading about pet owners using their dogs’ fur as a fiber for clothing, Abigail wondered if she could do the same. This garment was inspired by the concept of using pet hair as a renewable source for clothing fiber. By collecting a pets’ fur and sending it off to a local facility for spinning, the consumer has a more personal involvement in a garment’s creation and reduces the impact of textile creation. Abigail’s garment is made of synthetic hair and silverware. The garment consists of a wig, a bow-shaped shirt, and a skirt with long fringe. Abigail did try using her dog’s fur, but unfortunately it was too pungent to be worn.
I’m Mary Xiong, a 19 year old Hmong American, aspiring fashion designer of creative and boundless designs through inspirations of life and nature's diversity.
The Meltdown was created from plastic canvas, tablecloth, beads, shelf liner, and hot glue. This garment was created to bring awareness to the fashion industry’s effect on climate change and natural resources. Mary Xiong designed the Meltdown to tell a story of how the melting ice allows microplastics to spread into the ocean. The melting of ice also allows plastic to spread, especially microplastic fibers from synthetic fabrics being produced. When washed, synthetic fabrics releases microplastics into the ocean. Marine life intake the microplastic fibers and travels up the food chain, leading it up right back into the human body.
As a Muslim and an environmentalist, I seek to push the boundaries of conventional fashion, challenging its effects on our culture/society and the environment.
Asiya Youngmark’s garment was inspired by second-hand textile dumps in developing nations. These dumps are full of unwanted, second-hand clothing from countries such as the United States. Through her design, she explored the concept of biodegradable clothing. Although this solution would not solve the second-hand textile dumping, it could give clothing a place to go rather than hitting a dead end in the clothing production and use cycle. If clothes were biodegradable, they could return to the earth and replenish natural resources.
Most of the materials used to construct Asiya’s garment are biodegradable. The garment is made of dried corn husks. The bodice is formed from layered corn husks while the skirt is tiered. The skirt gradiates from the natural corn husk color to a dark brown to signify decomposition. Coffee grounds and moss are placed at the bottom of the garment to resemble dirt and plant growth.