Apr. 26: Discarded to Divine

April 26th Gala Evening with cocktail party, silent and live auction of recycled couture to benefit the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s programs for the poor and homeless.

Discarded to Divine
Recycled Couture Fashion Show, Auction and Cocktail Party
Saturday, April 26, 2008 – 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM
Hosted by Academy of Art University, 601 Brannan Street, San Francisco

General Tickets: $45 advance/$55 door; VIP Tickets (limited): $75 advance/$90 door
Space is limited. RSVP to (415) 977-1270 or online at www.discardedtodivine.org

The New York Spring 2008 runways were abuzz with “new” chic sustainable fashions that the Bay Area has long supported and produced. Events such as the third annual Discarded to Divine charity auction and fashion show, which benefits the St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco, have piqued national interest in sustainable design while touting the four R’s of life: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Respect.

Bay Area fashion designers such as Jessica McClintock, Colleen Quen, Nice Collective, Cari Borja, Verrieres & Sako, Michael Boris and Sara Shepherd join students from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), City College of San Francisco and Academy of Art University in designing one-of-a-kind fashions in ‘real’ sizes made from recycled materials and inspired by the de Young Museum’s permanent collection.

“We have all heard that green is the new black,” said Sara Shepherd, a participating local designer whose line sells at M.A.C. and Eco Citizen and who was featured in the 2007 Gen Art’s Fresh Faces in Fashion. “The Bay Area has long been at the forefront of eco-friendly designs and in prompting the nation to think seriously about sustainability and take accountability for its actions.”

“Respect for the poor is sewn into each design, as every designer trekked down to the Help Desk to pick their materials from our discard box and witness how we serve the Bay Area’s most needy,” said Sally Rosen, Director of the Vincentian Help Desk and co-chair of Discarded to Divine. “On auction night there is not a dry eye in the house when the bidding starts to rise. These gorgeous pieces on the runway all had their beginnings as donated materials, but are now transformed into elegant gowns, fun cocktail dresses and unique evening wraps that anyone would be thrilled to own and wear.” View images online at www.discardedtodivine.org.

The discarded items used include high-quality materials that have no use in the day-to-day survival of a homeless person, such as upholstery textiles, curtains, formal and bridesmaid dresses, and vintage fabrics. Highlights of fashions created for auction include a man’s tuxedo redesigned using elements of women’s clothing and inspired by Louise Nevelson’s monochromatic sculpture; an evening jacket of matte and textured fabrics inspired by the Dale Chihuly glass art exhibit; a bustier and dress made from a different garments dyed the same color to create a contrast of textures and inspired by the photographic work of David Seymour; and a gown and man’s suit inspired by Fragonard’s “Woman with a Parrot” made from 20 pairs of jeans.

Honorary Chair of the event, Wilkes Bashford, points out, “Not only is our community leading the green movement but it is incredibly rich in design talent and creative thinking. This exciting event sheds light on some serious topics in a very fun way.” Bette McKenzie, VP of Public Relations for Macy’s West (presenting sponsor of Discarded To Divine) adds “Fashion is how we express our individual style and values every day – those of us in the fashion business are in a unique position to promote the message of sustainability.”

The April 26th Gala Evening features a “green” cocktail reception with wine provided by French Rabbit in eco-friendly packaging (for every four wines sold, one tree is planted), hors d’oeuvres from local green restaurants such as Roots and Daffodil, compostable SpudWare plates and cutlery made of potatoes and vegetable starch, and 100% natural GuS soda.

Radio personality Miranda Wilson of KKSF will donate her time as Master of Ceremonies and Ford Models is donating models, hair / make-up, and stylists for the auction and fashion show.

“The interest from local designers and the outpouring of help from the community has been incredible this year,” said Chris Cody, Executive Director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco. “Now in its third year, Discarded to Divine has officially partnered with the Academy of Art University, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), City College of San Francisco, de Young Museum, Macy’s and Wilkes Bashford. These organizations helped increase the profile and success of the event so that we will have funds to buy necessary items that our poor and homeless men and women desperately need to survive.”


About Honorary Chair Wilkes Bashford

Wilkes Bashford, the man who “made Sutter Street” with his successful flagship store, is hailed by Esquire as “The Most Important Men’s Fashion Specialist in the Country.” His awards include Cutty Sark Award for the Best Men’s Store, Uomo Moda Collections Award for Italian Menswear in America and the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame. He is a local fashion icon well known for dressing the City’s political leaders and glitterati. His Wilkes Bashford and WilkesSport stores throughout the region make him the largest independent retailer of luxury clothing in San Francisco. He is a leading fundraiser for numerous charitable causes, including St. Vincent de Paul Society and numerous domestic violence programs.

About The St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco

The St. Vincent de Paul Society is one of San Francisco’s major human service organizations with various programs that help the most fragile people in our community – those suffering from homelessness, poverty, domestic violence and addiction. The Society’s programs include the largest homeless shelter in Northern California, the largest continuum of battered women’s shelters and services in the city, and one of only two programs in San Francisco that distributes free clothing. Every day the St. Vincent de Paul Society feeds, clothes, shelters and helps over 1,000 men, women and children, serving more than 72,000 individuals a year. For more information, please visit www.svdp-sf.org.


Damion Matthews is the founder and editor of SFLUXE, and has also contributed to Town & Country, 7x7, Salon, Dutch and other national publications.