Old clothes make new fashion

What do you get when you mix one part creativity, one part sustainability, one part philanthropy and one part “Project Runway”? A San Francisco fashion event like no other.

“Discarded to Divine,” on Saturday at the Academy of Art University, features one-of-a-kind couture fashions from some of The City’s best designers — Jessica McClintock, Colleen Quen, Nice Collective, Carl Borja, Verrieres & Sako, Michael Boris and Sara Shepherd — as well as new creations by students at the Academy of Art University, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and City College.

All are made from recycled discards, many found at the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

The three-year-old gala event, a fashion show and charity auction, benefits the Society, which runs the largest homeless shelter in Northern California and clothes some 1,400 people a month.

Among the cool designs on display will be Academy of Art University student Brenna Dean’s bustier top and waterfall skirt, based on photographs by David Seymour. The outfit is made from a suit jacket, shirt and pants that were dyed.

FIDM student Rebecca Howard’s side-lacing corset is a creative interpretation of glass art by Dale Chihuly. Her 100 percent recycled design is hand-dyed, made from seven pairs of women’s chinos.

Sally Rosen, the creator and co-chair of Discarded to Divine, who watches “Project Runway,” says, “I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if we could have some of our donated clothing deconstructed and reconstructed into beautiful design pieces we could auction to raise funds to help buy basic items for people we serve?”

Elisa Stephens, president of the Academy of Art University, which hosts the event, says, “Not only are we providing a creative environment that allows our students to explore and to take the initiative to exercise their imagination — we are teaching our students to be part of the community in which we live. To give back. And they’re improving both. This provides a platform for them to realize their personal best.”

With clothier Wilkes Bashford as honorary chair and Macy’s as presenting sponsor, the event is a fashionista’s dream.

More than 100 original designs will be up for bidding at a silent auction. The event also includes a live runway show and auction featuring Ford Models. VIP guests may attend an after party, where they can mingle with designers, models and artists.

Even the food and utensils are eco-friendly, starting with a “green” cocktail reception.

IF YOU GO

Discarded to Divine

Where: Academy of Art University, 601 Brannan St., San Francisco

When: 7 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $45 to $90

Contact: (415) 977-1270 or www.discardedtodivine.org

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