The Buffalo State College Fashion and Textile Technology program unlocks an array of exciting career options in the fashion industry for students who pursue a degree.
One of the many opportunities afforded to students is participation in a class that offers service learning through Buffalo State’s Civic and Community Engagement division. Students in Issues in Merchandising and Fashion Retailing and now students in the Fundamentals of the Fashion Industry classes have partnered with Goodwill each Spring and Fall semester to extend their learning beyond the classroom and help Goodwill at the same time.
Service learning always begins with a presentation where students have the opportunity to learn about Goodwill and its mission. Initial projects had students conducting shopper and donor surveys at Goodwill locations and integrating visual merchandising best practices in Goodwill’s newly renovated stores. The students have also planned and produced in-store fashion shows that wowed shoppers and encouraged sales, generating funding for Goodwill’s workforce programs. The projects have evolved into styling and photography where these creative students duplicate high-end fashion with Goodwill styles at Goodwill prices. The “copycat” looks they create are featured on Goodwill’s social media sites, helping to create awareness and make Goodwill even more relevant to a younger demographic.
Goodwill has also collaborated with fashion students on Runway, the annual Buffalo State student-run fashion show that highlights the best work of students and alumni designers. For Runway:Ecolution, Goodwill processing staff collected donated t-shirts that were to be salvaged that Buffalo State students used to create an amazing set design. At the most recent show, students talked to attendees about their service learning project and showcased their work.
When Buffalo State students participate in sustainable fashion projects, they once again partner with Goodwill on these important initiatives, whether it’s redesigning fashions from recycled fabric or creating unique designs on denim jackets for a project with Cotton Incorporated.
Buffalo State professor Dr. Liza Abraham says, “This partnership opportunity opened our students understanding of how a non-profit organization operates and its contribution to community and society. This experience in turn has helped make our students better citizens and acknowledges the need for all of us to contribute to the communities we live in.”
Now in its seventh year, the partnership with Buffalo State Fashion students is stronger than ever. We thank these students, their instructors and the entire department for sharing their time and talent with us!