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Fashion Design Students Participate in Fibershed Zero Waste Design Challenge

Fashion Design Students Participate in 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 students to create patterns that would make use of approximately 95% of the allotted fabric yardage (i.e., 5% or less fallout). 

“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. 

“As a new designer in the industry,” said Vivica Rafael who participated in the challenge, “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.”

“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.”

sheep at Bare Ranch in Northeast California

Photo | Paige Green Photography for Fibershed: Sheep at Bare Ranch in Northeast California, where the Lani’s Lana fine Rambouillet wool originates

Esther Grace Gaor created six designs for her entry submission which she turned into a mini collection. She said she hopes to one day create her own sustainable fashion brand.

Making use of her fabric scraps, Isabelle Leong designed gathered ruffles and a removable fabric flower brooch for surface interest.

Jonnieann Soper was inspired by the work of Madeleine Vionnet. "I thought that making a garment zero waste could be simplified if you think about making the pattern pieces into smaller simple shapes such as squares and rectangles," she explained. "Then one can simply add darts and pleats to create something that contours to the body."

FIDM Alumna Italia Hannaway launched her zero waste apparel brand, Italia A Collection, after winning this competition two years ago. 

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.

Photo of designers (L to R): FIDM Students Jonnieann Soper, Vivica Rafael (Photography | Din Ho; Modeling | Imah Francia), Esther Grace Gaor, Isabelle Leong

Categories:  Fashion Design Alumni Industry Partnerships