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Student Vivica Rafael Shares Her Experience in the Fibershed Zero Waste Design Challenge

Student Vivica Rafael Shares Her Experience in the Fibershed Zero Waste Design Challenge

Congratulations to this year’s Fashion Design students selected to participate in the Fibershed Zero Waste Design Challenge. Vivica Rafael, Isabelle Leong, Esther Grace Gaor, and Jonnieann Soper were awarded 3.5 yards of Fibershed Certified Climate Beneficial™ wool fabric from which they created aesthetic, functional pieces adhering to parameters of zero fallout design and longevity of use.

In their fourth year partnering with FIDM on the design challenge, the Fibershed organization asked FIDM Students to create patterns that would make use of approximately 95% of the allotted fabric yardage (i.e., 5% or less fallout). FIDM Alumna Italia Hannaway launched her zero waste apparel brand, Italia A Collection, after winning this competition two years ago.

“Fibershed has been so impressed by the beautiful skill that these student designers brought to working with this local material, and their inspired creativity in developing zero waste patterns that value the material and all of the work that went into its production,” said Heather Podoll, Partnership and Advocacy Coordinator at Fibershed.

“The wool comes from a ranch that is part of Fibershed’s Climate Beneficial program, where they are implementing farming practices to maximize carbon drawdown into soil, helping mitigate climate change while improving ecosystem health and benefitting our regional economy,” said Heather. “The undyed fabric these students used reflects some of the range of natural colors of the sheep. The fabric was woven at a family-owned and operated weaving mill outside of Sacramento.”

Fibershed plans to highlight the work of the graduates in a gallery show at their Fibershed Learning Center outside of Point Reyes Station in the fall. We caught up with Fashion Design Student Vivica Rafael to find out more about her journey and collection.

Tell us a little about yourself: Hi! My name is Vivica Rafael and I am 19 years old from Stockton, CA. I have just recently completed my Associates of Arts degree in Fashion Design at the FIDM San Francisco campus. When I’m not designing and sewing, I love spending time with family and friends and going on roadtrips. 

Tell us about the Fibershed Design Challenge: The Fibershed Design Challenge allowed students to design a zero waste garment. Zero waste fashion is when a garment generates little to no textile waste in its production. After coming up with a design, a select group of students were given Fibershed’s climate beneficial wool to use for the final product. For my design, I created a top and a skirt that were a looser fit and emphasized on making both versatile. The top includes tie details, which allows you to wear it with as much or as little gathering as desired. The skirt features slits at the sides for more movement, and a tie at the waist to cater to a range of different sizes. When paired together, the outfit feels unique and modern, while also being completely zero waste.

What is something you learned by participating in the Fibershed Design Challenge? One of the greatest lessons I took away from participating in the Fibershed Design Challenge was that it is important to be more responsible with the way I design. As a new designer in the industry, I have the ability to help change the way we develop clothing and choose our textiles. I will continue to be an advocate for sustainability and responsible fashion.

Why FIDM and how did you choose your major? For as long as I could remember, fashion has always been a part of my life. I was constantly surrounded by creative people, which had a great influence on me. I loved fashion and started to use it as my way of releasing my creativity. I knew I wanted to learn as much as I could about the fashion industry and designing my own clothes, so choosing fashion design as my major came pretty easy. FIDM had always been at the top of my list when choosing a school. I loved that FIDM had a variety of programs and classes to explore. The staff was supportive from the time I thought about applying to even after I completed my program, and have opened up many opportunities that I would not have been able to get on my own. I am forever grateful for the FIDM community.

What are your career goals and how is FIDM helping you get there? My main career goal is to start my own clothing company that specializes in custom, handmade pieces designed by myself. FIDM has taught me valuable business and design skills that will help me achieve my goal. They have also pushed me to have a strong work ethic and the confidence I need to be successful.

Photography | Din Ho; Modeling | Imah Francia

Keep up with Vivica Rafael on Instagram @vivicarafael.

Categories:  Fashion Design Student