In keeping with the College’s “learn by doing” approach, these students will pitch ideas to help real companies confront real fashion business challenges – ranging from recycling sneakers to eliminating plastic from shipping.
First up is the high-profile brand Free People. One group of students in professor Andrea Kennedy’s Applied Sustainable Practices in Fashion course are creating an “environmental scorecard” for all Free People stores, while another student team will suggest ways to lower the production impact for a best-selling Free People item.
Some students in the Sustainability and the Future of Fashion course are working with Avrio, an up-and-coming footwear brand that champions innovative new materials and sustainable processes. The students are developing logistical plans and key performance indicators for Avrio’s program of repurposing customers’ old sneakers.
Other students in that course are working with prAna Living to pitch ideas that will help the sustainable apparel and accessories company achieve 100% plastic-free shipping.
Each brand kicked off their projects with a virtual class visit, outlining an issue they needed to solve. The students then spent six weeks researching, conceiving, and planning their presentations.
Says Professor Kennedy, “These projects are a win-win. Brands have new challenges that need the fresh thinking our students can offer. At the same time, the students get to work on important industry sustainability projects, receive genuine professional feedback, and network with industry professionals.”