Sustainability and Social Responsibility

Stitched Together: Community Engagement for Undergraduate Student Learning in Apparel Design

  • Chanjuan Chen (Kent State University)
  • Kendra Lapolla (Kent State University)
  • Archana Mehta


The purpose of this research is to understand the impact of a community engagement approach for both undergraduate students and a nonprofit organization supporting refugee women in the creation of sustainable fashion products to be locally made and sold. As defined by The Carnegie Classification,, “Community engagement describes collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.” For this approach, students design upcycled products with donated fabrics and garments from the nonprofit organization and share their skills with the local community. The organization and local refugee women are then able to learn construction techniques that enable them to create local fashion products, culminating in an approach where all participating members mutually benefit through the exchange of design, construction knowledge, and resources. 

Keywords: Upcycling, local, refugee

How to Cite:

Chen, C. & Lapolla, K. & Mehta, A., (2019) “Stitched Together: Community Engagement for Undergraduate Student Learning in Apparel Design”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 76(1). doi:

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Published on
15 Dec 2019