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FALL RETURN 2021:   Find details about FIT’s full return to campus for fall classes.

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Course Descriptions


SUS 001 Introduction to Sustainability
Gain an in-depth knowledge of the history of sustainability and be up to date on the most current sustainability thinking (including the understanding that such knowledge is ever-evolving). Both practical and conceptual issues will be discussed with the goal of developing sustainable practices in our daily and professional lives. Absorb the vocabulary, bust the myths and learn how your design skills and creativity can contribute to a sustainable future.

SUS 002 The Sustainable Organization
More and more businesses, nonprofits, and governmental agencies are announcing that they are sustainable. What does this mean? Should a sustainable organization be held to some set of standards? What certifications have been established? Are there guiding principles to help you develop sustainable business structures and processes? To be "green," must we keep an eye on our vendors, make demands on our customers or our landlords? Can we afford to be sustainable? So many questions! Get some answers.

SUS 003 Sustainable Marketing
Green is one of the most overused words in popular culture. While an interest in all things green bodes well for the planet, it is becoming difficult to distinguish between a marketing ploy and a serious sustainability effort. In this course, we will look at marketing trends, consumer perceptions, and efforts to regulate claims such as the Federal Trade Commissions Environmental Marketing Guidelines. Learn how companies and professionals can get beyond the green buzz, stay clear of "greenwashing," and use marketing to both sell and educate.

SUS 004 Sustainable Design Thinking
What environmental issues can be tackled by design? What are the success stories? What are the most pressing issues? Sustainable design holds the promise of changing the world from the site of human-wrought ecological calamity to the home of people living in harmony with nature—and it begins with you.

SUS 005 Sustainable Material Sourcing
The journey from raw material through processing, dyeing, and finishing is complex. Sourcing raw materials, identifying the chemicals used in processing, understanding the impact of energy and water use, and analyzing finishing products and processes are just some of the considerations in developing sustainable textiles. This course will cover all the components and considerations of sustainable materials for fashion. It will also cover the eco labels that pertain to materials in the United States and, as applicable, worldwide markets, and teach you how to evaluate the pros and cons of these labels. We will also touch on eco labels that apply to the packaging and labeling necessary for the retail environment.

SUS 006 Navigating Sustainable Manufacturing
From concept to consumer, this class will prepare designers to manufacture anywhere with ease. Understanding the steps in the manufacturing process is key to anticipating and dealing with problems before they occur. We will focus on the language of manufacturing, identifying needs and considerations, and the role of collaboration in successful manufacturing.

SUS 007 Circular Product Lifecycle
Learn how to apply sustainability objectives during each phase of a product's lifecycle, from the product's design, materials, manufacturing, distribution, and consumer care through the end-of-life disposal of the product. Explore the current challenges, strategies, and innovative practices within sustainable fashion, and understand how to take responsibility for the social and environmental implications at each stage of a garment’s lifecycle.

SUS 012 Ethical Fashion I
Gain a deeper understanding of current ethical fashion best practices. Designers, product developers, researchers, anyone in the business of fashion—learn to recognize, evaluate, and implement aspects of sustainable and ethical fashion, from fiber to production. This course also provides an introduction to fair trade, the support of endangered crafts, the impact of textiles on the environment, and a summary of some current ethical and sustainable practices from industry.

SUS 013 Ethical Fashion II
Prerequisite: SUS 012
This course builds on all that is learned in Ethical Fashion I. Students are given the tools to design a fashion business following best practices in environmental, ethical, and social responsibility. Students will learn how to evaluate eco-friendly materials; identify responsible manufacturing or select an endangered craft to support; and incorporate ethics into the fabric of their business. Students will present their plans and share their sustainable design philosophies with presentations, sketches, or inspiration boards.

SUS 014 Natural Dyeing
Natural dyeing is a process that artisans have refined over centuries and is currently experiencing a resurgence in textile and fashion applications. This course will cover the basic processes of natural dyes, how they are distinctly different from chemical dyes, their successful application, and the surprising range of color that is achievable while only using plants, minerals, and one very special species of insect. You will learn about fashion companies successfully using natural dyes on a large scale and the benefits and disadvantages to working with them in industry. Many of the myths that you may have heard about natural dyes or preconceived notions you may have will be dispelled as you become familiar with this traditional, magical, and beautiful art.  

Please bring to first class: a notebook for swatches and notes or a binder with pages for notes and/or pockets for organizing swatches. Dyeing can be messy, so dress in paint/dye appropriate clothes and shoes. 

SUS 016 Clothing Reconstruction
Materials are not provided. Students are expected to have items needed for reconstruction for the first class. 
This class gives you a new way to look at your old clothing. Bridgett Artise, author of 25 Ways to Deconstruct, Reinvent, and Recycle Your Wardrobe will teach you an innovative and sustainable way to stay fashionable. Discover a unique way of recycling previously unwearable vintage/old clothing by visiting the world of reconstruction. Create sustainable fashion by splicing together collectible garments that have been stained, torn, or banished to the sale bin. Using 25 Ways as a guide, create a new wardrobe using what's already in your closet! 

Tuition includes $15 for supplied materials.

SUS 017 Social Responsibility and the Apparel Industry
This course is an introduction to social responsibility and its relationship to environmental responsibility, sustainability, transparency, accountability and human rights. Explore the challenges, risks, and successes of company corporate social responsibility departments and the key stakeholders for responsible manufacturing. Learn how to integrate social responsibility into a company's philosophy, vision, sourcing decisions, and practices to improve working conditions and labor standards in the apparel industry.

SUS 018 Traditional Sashiko Mending, Part 1
Don’t just mend, but adorn your clothes with this traditional stitching technique. Sashiko is a functional embroidery method that originated in seventeenth-century northern Japan. It is both fashionable and sustainable. Learn basic sashiko techniques and their application in the decorative mending of garments.

Have for first class: plain cotton fabric or muslin (for practicing stitches), scissors, sashiko or embroidery needles, fabric-marking pencil or chalk, and a 12-inch or 18-inch ruler. Suggested suppliers: sashiko thread: www.easypiecing.com; sashiko needles: Sil Thread, 257 W 38th St New York, NY www.silthreadinc.com; sashiko thread and needles: Purl SoHo, 459 Broome St. New York, NY www.purlsoho.com

SUS 019 Repurposed and Upcycled Design
As circularity becomes more business as usual, sustainable fashion entrepreneurs will want to build brands/products from existing materials. This class will delve into the opportunities and challenges of creating an upcycled brand or incorporating upcycled products. 

Instructor: Noor Bchara, founder of Noorism.

SUS 022 Collaborative Design with Artisans
Traditional artisanship is inherently entirely authentic, sustainable, and offers something special. Therefore, in a globalized, branded world, there is an opportunity for the true future of luxury to be handcrafted, indigenous and heritage crafts, re-interpreted into a fresh perspective on design. This course will help you gain knowledge and access to the age-old craft techniques and learn about successful methodologies to design in partnership with the cultural and historic heritage of other communities and repay them in equal value.

Instructor: Nidhi Garg Allen, founder and CEO of Marasim.

SUS 023 Traditional Sashiko Mending, Part 2 
Prerequisite: SUS 018
Using the simple running stitch practiced in Traditional Sashiko, Part 1, students will apply and expand their skills to more elaborate designs that are both beautiful and practical. Techniques such as varying grids, distorting patterns, advanced marking methods, and basting of fabrics will be taught hands-on by fashion designer Althea Gaskin Feurich. Students will be expected to have completed a sashiko project by the end of this course. Project choices include wall hangings, toss pillow covers, and coasters. Each project will utilize one or more of the patterns suggested by the instructor. Suggested texts: The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook, by Susan Briscoe; Make + Mend, by Jessica Marquez.

Bring the following supplies to class: fabric scissors; small embroidery scissors; safety pins; basting thread; marking chalk or pencil; cotton fabric – 1 yard cotton canvas or denim; a 12-inch ruler; an 18-inch (3-inch wide) quilter's ruler; sashiko threads; sashiko needles; and a cutting mat. Suggested suppliers: sashiko thread: www.easypiecing.com; sashiko needles: Sil Thread, 257 W 38th St New York, NY www.silthreadinc.com; sashiko thread and needles: Purl SoHo, 459 Broome St. New York, NY www.purlsoho.com

SUS 024 Vintage: The First Sustainable Fashion Business
Vintage has stood the test of time. Find out if it's right for you. See exactly what it entails, from the discovery of vintage clothing to cleaning and repair, to resale value. Learn the tricks of finding vintage, what customers want from vintage, and how to keep vintage in good condition. Whether you want to run a vintage boutique, use vintage clothing in your own designs, or create a clothing line inspired by vintage, Bridgett Artise, author of 25 Ways to Deconstruct, Reinvent, and Recycle Your Wardrobe, and invited guests will show you how.

SUS 027 Current Events and Innovations in Sustainable Fashion
It’s an exciting time for fashion industry evolution—novel breakthroughs surface each day. This course will keep your finger on the pulse of relevant news as it applies to responsible and sustainable fashion. We will cover innovations throughout the supply chain, shifts in consumer philosophy, emerging media outlets, conferences, and more. We will only cover the most recent news (last six-twelve months). 

SUS 200 The Purpose-Driven Company
This course is offered as an alternative to FutureLab. Today, new companies are lining up behind their social or sustainable missions and purposes. Established companies are following suit realizing that the shift in consumer expectations and behaviors demand change. Aligning business activities so that the company fulfills its promises of social good or sustainability requires operating differently than those in the past. This course helps students work through foundational methodologies that build purpose- or mission-driven companies with social or sustainable elements. Company success is now measured by financial outcomes and outcomes that are making a difference to the customers, stakeholders, employees, and the world at large.