Fashion Sustainability with Abby Schultz
The theme of my Immersion project is fashion sustainability. I take donated clothes and materials and turn them into bags, quilts, and dog toys to donate back to the Nashville community. I have been sewing for a while, and I was working in the Vanderbilt University Theatre Costume Shop where we had just finished a quilt for the Wond’ry out of old T-shirts. We also focused a lot on fashion sustainability and upcycling, so I thought it would be fun to combine all of those into a project. I originally was planning on leading workshops where people could bring in their old clothes, and I would teach them how to turn them into something they could use, but COVID made that difficult. People from my church also found out that I was doing this and donated a lot more than I expected, so suddenly my basement was overflowing with old jeans and sweaters to upcycle. Every time I meet with my advisor, my plan changes a little bit depending on what people in the community need or what materials I have. I thought I would be making a lot of hats and gloves, but people had more jeans to donate, and a local nonprofit needed reusable bags for their food pantry, so I ended up making those instead.
I was lucky in the process of finding my adviser because I already was working closely with a faculty member who ran the costume shop. My adviser, Professor Alexandra Sargent Capps, also teaches multiple classes on design and fashion sustainability, so she is a great resource for figuring out what projects to work on and how to go about making them.
My advice to other students would be to stay flexible. Even if you are not working in a pandemic, these projects last a while, and it is easy for things to change. I would also say to try and find something you are already working on. It does not have to be your major; it could be a hobby that you want to explore or an internship that you were really excited about. It does not have to be complicated, just something you could see yourself doing long-term at Vanderbilt.
Abigail Schultz, Class of 2022
Spanish & Medicine, Health & Society
Abby is a double Spanish and MHS major. She spends a lot of time in Neely Auditorium working with Professor Sargent Capps in the costume shop and serving as the secretary for VUT. She is so excited to share my Immersion project with all of you