CSU students give retired parachutes new life in exhibit of eveningwear garments

Three parachute gowns
Designs left to right by Sarah Buotte, Rachel Gonzales, and Georgie Longner.

Story by Diane Sparks

The splendor of fashion and using non-traditional materials in unique ways inspired Colorado State University apparel design and production students in the new spring/summer exhibit in the Department of Design and Merchandising’s Gustafson Gallery.

Model wearing a green and floral parachute dress
Design by Missy Doherty

The Parachute Project exhibit

The designs featured in The Parachute Project were created by third-year students in the Draping course taught by Design and Merchandising Instructor Kevin Kissell. The designs were created from retired military parachutes, which were donated to the department by Aspen Point, a business located in Colorado Springs. Inspiration for the fashion design work was derived from current fashion trends, combined with creatively using the parachutes for a different purpose than the original intent.

The exhibit explores the elements and principles of design within the context of a wearable garment structure. Students in the Draping course are skilled in garment assembly using traditional sewn techniques. Each of the garments in the exhibition represents creative strategies to manipulate slippery parachute fabric to achieve interesting effects within the women’s eveningwear paradigm. The results shown in the gallery demonstrate truly amazing examples of creative ingenuity.

Exhibit up until September 5

model wearing a parachute pantsuit
Design by Arran Senn

The exhibit will run until September 5. The Gustafson Gallery is located in room 318 of the Gifford Building at 502 West Lake Street.  Hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday.  Admission is free.

The Gustafson Gallery is under the umbrella of the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising in the Department of Design and Merchandising, part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.