Sharing Wool Research @ the International Textile & Apparel Association Conference

By Malia Chang, Apparel Merchandising & Management Undergraduate student

Towards the end of October, I had the opportunity as a Student Research Assistant to attend the International Textile and Apparel Association 2022 Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado. I was able to attend several sessions that were offered at the conference. Throughout the conference, many gathered to grow their knowledge about all aspects of the fashion industry by attending sessions. This included design exhibits, guest speakers, and career fairs. During my experience, I also participated in a poster session with Dr. Helen Trejo to present to those that approached us and inform them about the poster developed. We shared information that highlighted findings from the poster titled “Scaling Slow Fashion and Community Engagement Practices.”

The idea of scaling slow fashion and incorporating it into community practices became inspired by the idea that food is currently locally available with opportunities for community engagement. By encouraging the idea to scale slow fashion, it was also important to learn how to bring forth these practices to larger communities. The poster conveys common activities of fiber outreach in the United States including wool classing, shearing, carding, spinning, knitting, weaving, crocheting, and natural dyeing. These activities were identified at fiber festivals, county fairs, 4-H events and more. The poster showcased a woven textile sample that was created after yarn spinning demonstrations at the 2022 Los Angeles County Fair to increase community understanding of wool processing. The wool fibers were sourced from previous AMM 4630 Apparel Research courses during 2020-2021 based on student recommendations.

As for future opportunities, table weaving demonstrations can include US wool to a further extent to support and showcase fibers from US farms. US sheep and wool research and fiber sourcing are continuous efforts in an AMM 4630 Apparel Research course offered each fall at Cal Poly Pomona. Further ideas include expanding natural fiber activities into K-12 community supported agriculture (CSA) and explore how CSA’s can positively impact growing generations especially by creating an awareness of the importance of sustainable fashion.

This work was supported by a Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program (HSI) Grant no. 2020-38422-32253 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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