Public Affairs

Helping the Community…One Fabric at a Time

July 5, 2012
By Stephanie Thara

By building relationships with organizations throughout the local community, the CSU creates opportunities where students are able to gain the real-world experience needed to excel in their field. At San Francisco State, apparel design and merchandising students have a chance to exercise what they learn in the classroom by volunteering their time to local organizations in need.

Windows into the Community, a program started earlier this year, allowed 45 visual merchandising and promotion students to create storefront displays for Windows into the CommunityGoodwill Industries, with the goal of increasing foot traffic and sales for two Goodwill stores in San Francisco. Students worked directly with store managers and explained the relationship between consumer interest and clothing design, colors, textures and patterns. Future fashion gurus created themes for each window, drew sketches and put together the displays.

“Students were able to show Goodwill management the importance of visual merchandising,” said Connie Ulasewicz, associate professor of Apparel Design and Merchandising. “They kept the windows up to date with themes that really spoke to people.”

Similarly, the university’s Apparel and Design Merchandising Department teamed up with the Department of Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) and the marketing department in the College of Business to give Goodwill garments a new life during Runway—SFSU’s annual fashion show. For Runway 2012, Goodwill gave 15 fashion students store vouchers to pick out pieces for garment reconstruction. Each newly constructed piece of clothing was modeled during the Student from SFSU's Apparel Design and Merchandising program fashion show, which was recorded by BECA students and promoted online by marketing students.

“They deconstructed pieces of clothing only to redesign and reconstruct it into another piece of clothing,” said Ulasewicz. “The project went hand in hand with Goodwill’s mission to help reconstruct people’s lives.”