Parsons students launch sustainability-focused clothing lines

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After a summer of conceptualizing, brand-building and tailoring, Parsons School of Design sophomore Hannah Estrada dropped her new clothing line last Fashion Week.

“I got to work with a lot of really cool people,” she said, “everyone was really excited because Fashion Week was happening and we had to be a part of it.”

The collection is made from 100% recycled materials. Estrada scoured thrift stores like L Train Vintage for oversized cargo pants, which she then cut up and sewed in a new fabric. “The collection materials I bought here [in New York City]and then i did everything [at home],” she says.

Repurposing used clothing has given Estrada an accessible and affordable way to create clothing in a sustainable way. Nothing was wasted; Estrada also recycled buttons and zippers. She wanted to put things back together to “see how [she] could do something new.

Photo courtesy of Hannah Estrada

Early in its design process, Estrada used handwriting, moodboards, color schemes and other references to inspire the collection. She describes her aesthetic as “dynamic and definitely changing”.

“I really like using masculine features in my clothes, but also making them really flattering to a woman’s body,” she said. She wants her clothes to have “a bit of punk, a bit of edginess”, but also “a clean, snug fit”.

Estrada’s mother helped guide her through the design process. “My mom taught me to sew growing up,” Estrada said. “I was in that sewing room all day for a few weeks, which was tough, but if I had any questions, she would help me out,” she said.

Estrada sewed the entire collection herself.

Since the start of her brand, consistency has been a challenge, especially during the school year. “I’m a fashion student and I have constant projects and work,” Estrada said, “but the great thing is I can take what I do in school and apply it to my life. Mark.”

Photo courtesy of Hannah Estrada

Estrada is not alone. Parsons’ sophomore, Gigi Gibowicz, also recently launched her own clothing line, Curtain Closet.

Gibowicz describes his style as “eclectic maximalist”. She quilts to combine different materials into one piece and uses lots of buttons and embellishments. “There’s a lot going on in my aesthetic,” she adds.

“I get a lot of inspiration from high fashion and couture,” Gibowicz said, “but also what I see people wearing everyday, my friends and just New York.” She then develops her ideas through sketches and moodboards.

Curtain Closet also emphasizes sustainability through second-hand shopping. “I get materials from thrift stores or recycled fabrics. People give me a lot of their old clothes and old tablecloths, curtains and everything,” she explained.

Gibowicz emphasizes the value of recycling in order to make affordable sustainable clothing. “You can still create sustainable fashion by reusing fabrics that may be made from synthetic materials, but you’re keeping them from going to landfill,” she explained. “If you make them with high quality, they will last a long time,” she continued.

Photo courtesy of Gigi Gibowicz

In the future, Gibowicz wants to continue developing Curtain Closet. “I think the end goal is to make it a really successful brand,” she said. “I want to continue with different collections that bring new and innovative ways of looking at clothes, things that people may not have done before.”

Photo courtesy of Gigi Gibowicz

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