Fringe x Sartorial Sustainability

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washington square news | april 20, 2017

fringe x sartorial sustainability

letter from the editor x Sophie Shaw,

Beauty & Style Editor

While the fast pace of city life is invigorating and exciting, wasteful behaviors often get swept up in the hastiness. New York’s fashion industry is no exception — with Zara and other fast-fashion stores on what seems like every other block, there is an underlying reality of pollution and waste that accompanies the constant turnout of new trends and styles. Water waste, carbon emissions and textile scraps from clothes manufacturing accumulate, creating one of the largest environmental footprints of any industry. People can actively work to combat these negative effects through becoming educated, conscious consumers who actively look for eco-friendly, ethically made products. While it is still considered a niche market, sustainable fashion has a growing presence. This edition of Fringe features three student designers whose vision, talent and craftsmanship implement sustainable practices. The designers’ environmental concerns range from bee pollination to natural gas, and their interpretations translate into striking sartorial statements — thank you to Delaney, Ryan and Selly for creating these collections. Thank you to the amazing students who volunteered to model. And finally, thank you to our outstanding writers and multimedia team — especially Polina, Ryan and Julia — whose creative skills were invaluable to producing this stunning issue.

x Laura Ahmetaj

wearing Ryan Andrewsen. Karen Shi wearing Selly Djap. Protographed by Polina Buchak.

Clara Chen wearing x Delaney Beem. Photographed by Ryan Quan.

x Thomas Chou, Staff Writer For Gallatin junior Ryan Andrewsen, sustainability and fashion go hand in hand. An up-andcoming designer, Andrewsen’s body of work and study mainly focus on environmental sustainability, luxury business, art history and costume design. Recently featured in the 2017 Gallatin fashion show, Andrewsen’s collection of chic looks — all made from unconventional materials — was a showstopper and marked another year of designing under Andrewsen’s belt. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Andrewsen said he only began designing three years ago when he first arrived at NYU. “I started sketching at a very young age,” Andrewsen said. “Then I began sewing at the beginning of high school, but I would say that I actually started making my own designs during my freshman year at NYU. The more I design, the more my designs have gotten more advanced. I always try and challenge myself by using unconventional materials.” Because Andrewsen had no formal training, he’s willing to let the process happen organically. In his first collection, he attached thick mohair and wool to recycled plastic fabrics. For his most recent collection, he incorporated upholstery fabrics into his designs. Despite Andrewsen’s limited experience, he has been featured in the Gallatin fashion show twice — his first collection was shown a year ago and his latest collection, earlier this year. For Andrewsen, being included in the Gallatin fashion show was a learning experience, especially since NYU doesn’t have a fashion design program. Still, he knows that designing clothes is what he wants to do. “Designing is definitely the career I want,” Andrewsen said. “The end goal is to either create my own luxury label or be a creative director. For now, I’m just finishing up NYU, and I might go to Europe to a design college afterwards to develop my skills further.” Andrewsen said he is largely inspired by designers like Alexander McQueen, Gianni Versace and Martin Margiela as well as sustainable designers like Stella McCartney and Alessandro Michele, the creative director of Gucci. He also said that life and experiences influence his work, and he considers himself a “watcher.” Andrewsen also cited nature as a major source of creativity. “When I’m in my hometown, I like to hike up,

enjoy the scenes and draw creativeness from there,” Andrewsen said. He said his cognizance of sustainability and environmental consciousness was shaped by his hometown. “Growing [up] in the San Francisco Bay Area and living in an eco-conscious bubble of people, everybody there tried to do their part,” Andrewsen said. “We banned plastic bags early on, and everyone had Priuses and Teslas and thought they were making a change. But in actuality, they weren’t doing much of anything. Environmental consciousness was sort of ingrained in me, and I became aware of just how little these people were actually doing.” As both a designer and a consumer, Andrewsen stands up to fast-fashion brands like H&M, Zara and Forever 21 — notable for using environmentally damaging practices — by boycotting the retailers. “I don’t buy them, I never shop them, I don’t support them,” Andrewsen said. In the wake of countless sweatshop horror stories — such as the Bangladeshi textile factory that caught fire in 2012, which resulted in the death of over 110 garment workers — Andrewsen said sustainability is one of the largest and most problematic issues in the fashion industry right now. “Sustainability has more to do with just our impact on the environment,” Andrewsen said. “It has a lot to do with social and cultural issues that are involved with it too, and you need to take those aspects into consideration if you want to classify something as sustainable, such as the human rights of sweatshop workers. There are many facets that go into making something sustainable beyond just being good for the environment.” Andrewsen believes sustainable fashion deserves more thought and attention — both as consumers with their buying power and as designers with their ability to use unconventional materials to replace older, more detrimental materials. “If you care about this world, you should care about sustainable fashion,” Andrewsen said. “If we want to keep indulging and falling into the fantasy of fashion, we need the resources. We need the planet that we live on to keep supplying this for us.” Email Thomas Chou |

Ry An

yan ndrewsen

Laura Ahmetaj wearing Ryan x Andrewsen. Photographed by Ryan Quan.

Details of Ryan x Andrewsen design. Photographed by Polina Buchak.

x Clara Chen wearing Delaney Beem. Photographed by Polina Buchak.

David Victor wearing x Ryan Andrewsen. Photographed by Polina Buchak.

x Clara Chen wearing Delaney Beem. Photographed by Ryan Quan.

Delaney Beem

x Michaela Hoffman, Violet Vision Editor Although many designers work toward lessening fashion’s carbon footprint, up-andcoming designer Delaney Beem innovates with eco-fashion, which puts her at the forefront of this movement. This Gallatin sophomore became passionate about fashion design after learning about the Gallatin fashion show during her freshman year. She took a chance, sent her portfolio to the 2016 fashion show board and was immediately accepted to have her work featured. This first step jump-started her career and passion for fashion. Even without technical training, her passion and motivation for fashion design grew significantly before her 2016 fashion show debut. She taught herself how to sew — using a borrowed machine from Gallatin — by watching YouTube videos and enlisting the help of her aunt and grandma. Beem said the Gallatin fashion show helped her experience both the independence and responsibility that a designer has, and during the process, she fell in love with design. “[Creating a collection] was a lot of trial and error,” Beem said. “But, I really like knowing how things are made, and now, since I’ve been designing, I even look at my own designs and flip them inside out to look at the seams. I like seeing how everything is being put together.” Since the 2016 Gallatin fashion show, she has shifted her concentration in Gallatin from art and business to fashion and business. Through her studies, she began learning how to set herself apart from the other designers and their clothing, something she found important in this competitive field. Along with her fashion business classes, she began taking others on sustainability and environmental design — she wants to marry the two disciplines together and promote her environmental activism through her clothing. She said that growing up in Idaho helped ignite her love for nature, so the environment has always been at the heart of her art. “In my art, I’ve always tried to incorporate things that would represent [Idaho],” Beem said. “Whether that be in the fabric, the shape or the pattern of the clothes.” As the theme of nature influences her career as a designer, Beem now focuses on reducing her own carbon footprint during the clothes manufacturing process — a large problem within the fashion industry that has made headlines. Its negative impact on the environment mainly comes from textile waste, water waste and chemical pollution. Therefore, Beem tries to promote repurposing old materials and giving them life through her designs. In her latest collection for the 2017 Gallatin fashion show, all materials except for the thread were recycled. She gathered fabrics and trims

from various thrift stores, cut them up and sewed them back together — Beem thinks clothing waste is one of the biggest issues that companies neglect. “Even for other designers, if they are using environmental design or materials, it doesn’t address the problems with waste,” Beem said. “Consumers are so disconnected with the huge impact of fashion and aren’t holding themselves or major companies accountable.” In her collection for the 2017 Gallatin fashion show, Beem began heavily integrating nature to craft an immediately recognizable style — most of her looks were interpretations of animals in nature. One of her favorite pieces in the show involved dressing her friend Jeremiah Jarret as a drag queen bee. Jarret stood out as he strutted down the runway in a show-stopping black and gold jumpsuit. She sewed on yellow fabric to the back of the suit, which acted as his wings. “I wanted to capture Jerry’s playful spirit as well as a regal bee,” Beem said, “So a lot of my styling choices, like his beehive wig, were an attempt to merge these two inspirations in a fun, but elegant way. She said this experience was one of the most fun and challenging tasks she’s had in her short design career. Although she had never designed for a man prior to this, Beem’s willingness to tackle this challenge and versatility as a designer showed her immense dedication, even as a relatively inexperienced designer. So, what can we expect from Beem in the future? “At the moment I would love to have a company that makes one-of-a-kind products that are made sustainably and easily recycled after use,” Beem said. Her main goal is to use her brand to raise awareness for environmental and social issues, while collaborating with institutions that work to fix these problems. During her time at NYU, however, she wants to continue exploring environmentally friendly production methods and develop her design abilities. “I want to experiment with a collection made out of plants,” Beem said. “I am playing with the idea of live floral embellishments, plant accessories/jewelry or some kind of textile made of moss.” As she currently brainstorms how to bring these designs to fruition, you can anticipate seeing the finished product at the 2018 Gallatin fashion show. Her ideas are certainly green, grand and innovative, born from her singular perspective and hope to create a lasting impact. “I like making things that are unique,” Beem said. “I find [what I’m doing] can be more influential than art.” Email Michaela Hoffman |

Laura Ahmetaj x wearing Ryan Andrewsen. Clara Chen weraing Delaney Beem. Photographed by Polina Buchak.

x Karen Shi wearing Selly Djap. Photographed by Ryan Quan.

Detail of Selly Djap x design. Photographed by Polina Buchak.

David Victor wearing x Ryan Andrewsen. Karen Shi wearing Selly Djab. Photographed by Polina Buchak.

Selly Djap x Pamela Jew, Staff Writer Looking across the ocean as a child, Selly Djap drew inspiration from the depths of the surrounding Indonesian waters. That inspiration was later transformed into her most recent collection — Polarity. Djap, a Gallatin freshman, came to NYU from a small region in Indonesia called Ancol, which is located in North Jakarta. While there, she attended the Bunka School of Fashion, where she learned pattern drafting and sewing techniques. And now at Gallatin, she is applying her previous studies to her concentration, which combines fashion design and business. “Most designers strictly design,” Djap said. “I want to be able to design and understand the whole business process of where the fabrics are coming from and where my designs are going.” Djap is not new to the designing game. She said she has been designing since she was a kid and recalled always sketching clothes. Now, she gets to see those designs come to life. For her debut, Djap premiered Polarity at the 2017 Gallatin Fashion Show. The theme was emPOWERed — which the designers could interpret however they wanted — and Djap’s designs emulated the power of women themselves. But this power wasn’t only visible in the final product — it started taking shape during the earliest stages of production and grew with the designs and debuted on the runway. Turning to social media for an assistant seamstress, Djap, along with a helping pair of hands, did all of the construction for the collection: cutting, sewing, beading and everything in between. “In the end, all the needle pain was worth it,” Djap said. “I saw my designs on real models on a real runway. That night made me want to design even more, but definitely get some production help.” Her women’s collection features five designs,

which can be dressed up or down for both the day and night — all are inspired by the ocean. But Polarity is no ordinary aquatic-inspired collection. Its palette derives from the creatures of the ocean, while the beading and pearls seek to resemble the textures of the sea’s terrain. Djap expressed how many ocean-inspired collections take the theme literally, sticking to a blue color palette and slick, water-like silk fabric. In her own collection, she sought to expand the concept beyond the obvious motifs. “I focused on a wider range of color and texture to show the broader spectrum of what the ocean holds,” Djap said. “The ocean symbolizes strength, which I hope is shown through my designs.” To further her fashion studies, Djap is a member of Gallatin’s Practicum in Fashion Business where she gets hands-on experience in the industry. In her class, students learn about the ethics of the notoriously wasteful fashion industry. According to Djap, they’ve discussed the accelerated rate of consumption that fast-fashion brands promote, where people throw out barely worn clothing in favor of the newest trendy styles. She also noted how getting clothing companies to realize that customers will pay more for ethically made products is a hurdle. “Consumers have to show big name brands that they’re willing to pay $30 for a t-shirt rather than $5 for one made in a sweatshop in China,” Djap said. With a collection inspired by nature, Djap said that while seeking fabrics for her Polarity line, she tried sourcing sustainable fabrics but discovered that suppliers could not verify whether the textiles were made of sustainable products. This is the hard truth for beginning designers like Djap, who don’t work closely with textile manufacturers, making it difficult to support the sustainable fashion industry. Djap said that the cyclical nature of consumers not questioning

what the fashion industry provides for them, and clothing companies not giving consumers information about waste and pollution leads to the inaccessibility of sustainable sources. Djap recently conducted a study on the increasing popularity of veganism in fashion titled, “Veganism as a Growing Consumer Trend,” which won the YMA-Fashion Scholarship Fund competition. It is awarded to students who are pursuing careers in the fashion industry and submit an exceptional case study project dealing with design in conjunction with business strategies and a current issue like sustainability. The YMA FSF grants $5,000 scholarships to approximately 200 students each year. In her study, she sketched designs all envisioned to be made from a versatile fabric created using seaweed. Through the YMA FSF, Djap now has the chance to participate in its mentorship program, where students work closely with an esteemed member of the fashion industry and find internship opportunities. After winning this scholarship, the public relations team from the University of Pennsylvania Fashion Show contacted Djap in hopes to feature her Polarity designs for their show this April. As she looks to work on more fashion projects and market her designs beyond concept boards and prototypes, Djap said that she does not plan to stray from designing any time soon. She aspires to dive into couture design, where she hopes to create among her icons, like Alexander Wang. “I just love the elegance of women’s couture and I want to curate that,” Djap said. “I’ll always be creating. But for now, I’m working on learning said curation and bring it to the runway.” Email Pamela Jew |

Karen Shi wearing Selly x Djap. Photographed by Polina Buchak.

x Special thanks to our models:

Karen Shi, Clara Chen, Laura Ahmetaj and David Victor

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