Discarded to Divine, the St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco’s unique fashion fundraiser, is delighted to be showcasing 110 talented designers from the Bay Area and beyond. Their one-of-a-kind fashions, inventive accessories, and exquisite home décor are reclaimed from 50 percent discarded, donated clothing and materials. These items will be auctioned to help thousands of San Franciscans overcome poverty, homelessness, and domestic violence.
In a glimpse of the future, more than 60 percent of this year’s participants are local design students at the Academy of Art University, the California College of Art, City College of San Francisco, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and San Francisco State University. For most, this will be their Discarded to Divine debut. They include: Rachel Heald (FIDM), who recycled upholstery fabric, jersey, and blouses into a silk appliqued dress and hooded vest; Jonathan Luk Man Cheung (SFSU) whose man’s kilt and striped shirt were made from assorted oxford cloth and trim; and Polly Li and Marisol Duran (CCA) who repurposed men’s wool jackets into a flirty baby doll dress. One of the most ambitious ensembles comes from Reno’s Dawn Castel who devoted 100-plus hours to turning the inseams from 60 pairs of jeans into a hoop skirt and using the denim belt loops to embellish the bodice. And established designers such as Wesley Ito, Cari Borja, and New York’s Michael Boris have constructed elegant couture from striped upholstery, wedding dresses, wool trousers, antique Chinese pajamas, and more.
In addition to unique fashions for women, men, children—and, of course, dogs—there are hats, purses, and jewelry made out of scraps, buttons, doilies, beads, jackets. The stunning home décor (one-size-fits-all!) ranges from tables and chairs to hand silk-screened pillows, prints, wall hangings, and decorative items.
Not surprisingly, this diverse collection reflects eclectic sources of inspiration. Many designers looked to Jean Paul Gautier, whose new exhibition, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gautier: From Sidewalk to Catwalk, opens at the de Young Museum in March. Others cited the de Young’s recent shows on Balenciaga, Picasso, the Masters of Venice, photographer Ralph Meatyard, and even the museum’s own architecture. Artists ranging from Toulouse Lautrec to Wayne Thiebaud, Acoma Pueblo pottery, Anatolian kilim, films, and flowers provided further inspiration.
The Gala on Thursday, April 26, 2012 at the San Francisco Design Center Galleria, features a reception, live and silent auctions, and a benefit drawing for two Public Bikes, glamorous getaways, and more (doors open at 6:00pm). And this year’s auction is greener than ever—armed with the latest BidPal technology, guests will be able to mingle and enjoy their cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while monitoring their bids electronically.
Tickets go on sale March 1. VIP access (including an exclusive reception at the Kravet showroom, preferred seating, and parking) is $195. General admission is $95 or $75 if purchased by March 31. For more information and tickets visit http://www.svdp-sf.org/DISCARDED/.
All proceeds from Discarded to Divine will benefit two of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco’s four programs: the Help Desk in the Tenderloin, which serves more than 14,000 people annually, and the Riley Center: Services for Domestic Violence Survivors, which provides safe shelter and an integrated network of services to thousands of abused women and their children each year.
Images courtesy of Discarded to Divine.