Whether she’s winning awards, answering interview questions, taking over Instagram accounts or interning abroad, senior apparel and merchandising major, Nogah Seidemann, has certainly made a name for herself within the Colorado State University community.
As an active advocate for sustainable fashion, Seidemann has graced the pages and screens of many CSU publications over the years. She will be graduating this spring after completing an internship in Cambodia with tonlé, a sustainable fashion company, during her final semester.
Seidemann has long been a lover of art, but it was a fibers class in high school that shaped her interests in functional art and textiles. Despite this immediate love for expression and creativity, she knew she wanted more out of her college experience.
“I didn’t want only an art education. I wanted the holistic college experience,” Seidemann said of her decision to attend CSU and major in the Department of Design and Merchandising. “Sustainability is also really important to me, and CSU is one of the leading universities in the country, so there is a lot of opportunity here.”
Engagement and activism
Sticking to this goal, Nogah has been actively engaged on campus since her freshman year. She was an Eco Leader in Braiden Hall her freshman year, trying to engage her fellow first-year students in sustainability efforts. Afterwards, she developed an independent project to encourage several campus programs to purchase Fair Trade t-shirts. Through her efforts, CSU became the first the first Fair Trade Certified University in Colorado and one of only a few nationwide.
After the success of her independent project, Seidemann was asked to help pilot an Eco Leaders program at Aggie Village apartments on campus, which became a triumphant success after its first year.
In the fall of 2017 she became the coordinator of the Zero Waste Team at CSU, where she helped launch a complex composting program at a stadium with seating capacity for 40,000 people. In that fall semester alone the Zero Waste team, with the help of 125 volunteers, diverted 1,733lbs of waste from Canvas Stadium to be composted at CSU’s composting facility.
“During your time at CSU and beyond, whatever it is you care about, I highly recommend finding an organization through which you can give back and be a part of taking care of our community,” said Seidemann in an Instagram post while taking over the @proudtobeacsuram account. “Working towards a collective goal and being around other people who were passionate about waste reduction and taking care of our home (Fort Collins and in general Earth) brought such joy and energy into my life.”
During her sophomore year she also served in ASCSU as the deputy director for environmental affairs. In the summer of 2017 Seidemann interned at the high-end label Alejandra Alonso Rojas in New York City.
In May of 2018 Seidemann became one of 50 Udall Scholars from 42 colleges and universities in 31 U.S. states and Guam. She was the only student at CSU to receive the award that year.
“Nogah is one of those people who will always take the time to help and support others and she demonstrates her commitment to social and environmental justice on a regular basis,” wrote Tonie Miyamoto, the director of communications & sustainability for Housing and Dining Services in her letter recommending Seidemann for the Udall Scholarship. “She has the ability to relate to peers as well as faculty and staff and I always leave my interactions with her inspired because I know she is making the world a better place.”
Seidemann spent most of her time at CSU supporting sustainability efforts, but still managed to make time for other things too. “I have also done everything from taking dance classes at the rec, to doing a study-tour in the U.K., to helping setup and exhibiting at the Avenir Museum,” she said. “I wanted to get a taste of as many different things as I could.”
“The largest overarching obstacle throughout college is time management! Being a student is like a high-intensity juggling act, keeping on top of school work while also maintaining outside commitments never stops being a challenge.” -Nogah Seidemann
Though she was still abroad in Cambodia during CSU’s 2019 ‘Xposure’ Fashion Show, her design collection Seize The Scrap won her the award for outstanding designer. The collection is made entirely from either post-consumer textiles or original, digitally printed textile designs. The garments breathe new life into old fabrics, begging consumers and designers to consider their own textile waste and find creative ways to reuse and repurpose.
“From ideation to developing prints, to testing construction, every aspect of the ‘Seize the Scrap’ collection has my heart and soul in it!” she said on the @proudtobeacsuram Instagram.
Seidemann is heading home after completing her internship in Cambodia, but before she left she taught a two-day workshop on sustainable fashion at the Nomi Network Fashion Incubator.
“The women business owners were all so inspiring and eager to learn more about sustainable business practices,” said Seidemann. “It was the perfect opportunity to give back to a place that I learned and grew so much from.”
Even through all of her civic engagement and extracurriculars over the years, Seidemann has taken an average of 18-19 credits per semester, and will be graduating with close to a 4.0 GPA.
Making an impact
“I wanted to be my most present self while doing my internship abroad and get the most out of my time there, so I did not focus on job searching and finding the next step,” said Seidemann. “Once I’m back in the U.S. I will tackle this mission.”
When she’s back in the states, Seidemann hopes to work in small-batch production for apparel companies that focus on sustainable and ethical practices.
“It’s about slowing down the process and moving away from very fast production where you lose the human element of craftsmanship,” Seidemann said. “Machines don’t have nuance. The imperfection of handmade makes it more artistically appealing.”
Diane Sparks, a professor in textile and apparel design summed up Seidemann’s achievements best when she said, “the apparel industry truly needs professionals like Nogah Seidemann, who embody the commitment to safe and sustainable practices that will preserve the environment.”