When it comes to the world of fashion, it’s no secret that most in the industry would tell you that
But last Friday, a sneak peak tour of this year’s Discarded to Divine collection, now on display at the Gensler offices downtown, changed my mind.
And from my perspective, this is just one more sign that
In fact, D2D’s own acceleration since 2006, when it debuted as a grassroots event showcasing primarily the work of students, to the present is indicative of the mainstream interest in this kind of fashion. At the runway show and auction on April 26, over 90 emerging and student designers will have their creations – all made using at least 50 percent items that St. Vincent de Paul would have otherwise had to discard – showed to an audience at the Academy of Art University at an event chaired by Wilkes Bashford and sponsored by Macy’s. FORD models will walk the runway donning elaborate recycled couture by featured designers Jessica McClintock, Colleen Quen, Cari Borja, Verrieres & Sako, Sara Shepherd, Michael Boris and Nice Collective.
Speaking of designers, bet you’d like to see some fabric fabulousness right about now….Luckily, we are not here to disappoint. And now on with the show.
When I walked into Gensler’s offices last week to tour the collection, event co-chair Sally Rosen and Gensler’s Lori Navarro and Tana Hall (Gensler donates thousands of volunteer hours each year to make this event possible) were there to show me the designs on display in house until April 24.
One of the first I saw was Cari Borja’s floor-length gown, made from repurposed lace, acrylic knit and blue sparkle fabric that I’m pretty sure was something godawful in its former life. But look what Borja’s done with it:
A close-up of Borja’s work:
The piece truly embodies the “discarded to divine” ethos. Another of my favorites comes from Rochele Gloor, a student at CCSF/SFSU, who refashioned a black curtain and a gauze-like skirt lining to make this high-waisted, two-piece ensemble.
Here’s the full-length view:
For the next design, hotel uniform jackets found new life in designer Stine Ellemose Hansen’s hands. This dress, which is available in a size 10 (“real” sizing is an another aspect of this event that I found interesting and noteworthy), was made with 16 donated jackets. The white dress, by designer Katherine Stempien of S2 Studio, is adjustable for sizes 10 through 14 and incorporates one pair of women’s pants and eight blouses into its goddess-like silhouette.
Here we have a cluster of cocktail dresses. From left, there’s Academy of Art student Anya Parker’s corset top and A-line skirt made from men’s suits, Academy of Art student Amanda Cleary’s black and orange dress made with discarded slacks, FIDM student Joanna Ferreira’s strapless dress made from tie-dyed sarongs and a woman’s dress and, far right, the Nice Collective’s reconstructed jacket made from a cast-off, suede woman’s overcoat.
Here’s a close-up of Cleary’s dress, which features a dramatic neckline of black denim and orange silk organza:
And a close-up of the Nice Collective jacket, which I hear they took down to
And we’ll end with one of this princess-worthy dress by Thomas Haryanto, a student at City College of San Francisco. I just kept looking at it and thinking how fantastic – in the true sense of fantasy – this dress is. It reminds me of a masquerade ball,
These and a slew of fabulous designs made from stained, torn or otherwise unusable clothing donations received by St. Vincent de Paul, which feeds and clothes San Francisco’s most in-need populations, will be auctioned off on April 26. Proceeds from the event will be used by St. Vincent de Paul in its programs assisting the homeless and poor.