SU senior discusses fashion industry, new sustainable collection

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Syracuse University senior Adelle Wade hasn’t let the pandemic change her style. The fashion design major recently created a sustainably-sourced collection called “Recess” full of prints that Wade describes as “groovy” and vibrant colors.

Wade created her collection during the pandemic, and she feels that the prints and colors used in her collection can uplift people after COVID-19.

“(I wanted) to make things that you can wear on the everyday so that you’re having fun and it looks groovy, but it’s not too crazy,” Wade said. “A huge part of that was making sure it was sustainable.”

Wade has expressed an interest in fashion since high school when she helped to craft costumes for her school’s theater department. She also became skilled in garment construction and sewing from an elective class she took in high school.

Initially, Wade entered SU as an environmental and interior design major in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. It wasn’t until she took electives in fashion design at SU that she switched her major.

Now a senior, Wade is able to combine her passions for both sustainability and fashion by working with eco-friendly companies. She is also implementing secondhand shopping into her personal life by buying items from thrift sites such as Depop and Poshmark.

Wade is also using her passion for sustainability when it comes to her collection. She plans to repattern and re-drape materials from garments she sources from thrift stores to repurpose older fabrics into her own unique pieces.


Wade specifically curated her collection for Generation Z women. Courtesy of Adelle Wade

Her choice to incorporate patterns enabled her to work with printmakers who exclusively use natural pigments and dyes and, in turn, cut out synthetic materials that are hazardous to the environment and workers.

Chandler Burke, a senior fashion design major, said Wade’s collection is close to being 100% sustainable. Wade also tries to use any materials she has from home.

“Adelle’s collection is amazing when highlighting the topic of sustainability because all of her fabric is being stored sustainably,” Burke said. “Being able to use pieces from thrift stores and fabric that you might already have is the perfect way of being sustainable in the fashion industry because you’re not contributing to creating more fabric waste.”

Currently, the fashion industry alone contributes more than 8% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. At this rate, the industry will be chipping in over 25% of the global carbon footprint, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Wade specifically curated her collection for Generation Z women. She has worked to utilize solely sustainable sources in her collection in case she ever decides to bring the designs to fruition. One of these sustainable providers, Giotex, is based out of New York City and reuses scraps of fabric to make a recycled blend for their clothing.

“She’s very aware and she understands what’s happening in the world,” said Todd Conover, an assistant professor of fashion design and Wade’s senior capstone professor. “All of her creative experiences have led to this moment where she’s now going to express all of these things that she’s learned over the past few years and probably prior to that in this collection.”

Wade’s upcoming capstone collection, “Battlecry,” is an all-women’s wear collection that draws inspiration from warriors and aims to depict the struggles and strengths of women.

Wade is aiming to source the materials in her collection from thrift stores. While this might not be feasible for larger companies, there are options for smaller-scale fashion companies, she said.

“I want to be able to do the things that I see,” Wade said. “I want to make a change in the fashion industry.”

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