Upcycled Fashion Design Course

Upcycled Couture: Refashioning Garments

Americans generate roughly nine billion pounds of used clothing annually, representing six percent of household waste destined for landfills—hardly sustainable practice. In this course, we take creative action to reduce that carbon footprint by exploring ways of restyling, reusing or upcycling found fashions. We source and shop for pre-owned garments, and then deconstruct, drape and reconstruct them by adding or subtracting elements. Utilizing both apparel and textile design approaches, students transform common clothing into textured, layered, dimensional and sophisticated fashion. Techniques explored include fabric sewing and hand manipulation techniques, such as pleating, gathering, smocking and tucking; surface embellishment techniques such as applique, beading, quilting and embroidery; and textile design techniques such as dye removal, basic block printing and fabric painting. No sewing skills or previous textile experience required.

Students exhibit their work at Open Studios held 4–6 pm on the final day of class.

Course #4033
Elizabeth Bentley

Schedule A
June 22–July 28, 2020
Mondays + Tuesdays
9 am–4 pm

Tuition $2,975
Tuition for RISD Alumni and Students $2,380

3 Credits


Elizabeth Bentley

Elizabeth Bentley worked as a designer in the apparel industry for 20 years for companies including Mast Industries, Worcester Knitting and Northern Isles. She is owner of E. Bentley Design Studio, a firm specializing in design, presentation and patternmaking services. Clients include Susan Bristol, Robert Scott/David Brooks, T.J. Maxx/Marshalls and Dear Kate's. Beth has taught at RISD since 2002, for the Apparel department and Continuing Education. She holds a BFA in apparel design from RISD and an MFA in artisanry/fibers from UMass Dartmouth.