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Sustainable Fashion – Art as a Path to Creating Change

April 21 | 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm EDT

Cuban costume designer Celia Ledón discusses her work creating sustainable fashion using recycled materials with Manuel Carmona Yebra, Counsellor for Environment and Oceans at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States. The evening will include conversation, videos, and a live demonstration of her technique.

6:30-7:30PM—Panel Discussion
Moderated by Erica Cusi Wortham, PhD
Costume designer Celia Ledón (Cuba) discusses her work creating sustainable fashion with Manuel Carmona Yebra, Counsellor for Environment and Oceans at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States (Spain). The European Union Commission has launched a new strategy to make textiles more durable, repairable, reusable, and recyclable, in order to tackle fast fashion, textile waste, and the destruction of unsold textiles, ensuring their production takes place in full respect of social rights.

7:30-9PM—Live Demonstration
Cuban costume designer Celia Ledón will give a live demonstration of her technique creating sustainable fashion using recycled materials—from soda can pop-tops and electrical wiring to plastic tubing and trash bags.

Bios

Celia Ledón creates wearable art from found materials and re-used objects, decontextualized from their original purpose. For Ledón however, her designs are more than just about sustainability—they’re also about connecting people and moving forward together. “Art is a path to creating change,” she says. Ledón graduated from Cuba’s IPDI (Polytechnic Institute of Industrial Design) as a project developer in 2005, continued her studies at ISDI (Superior Institute of Industrial Design) and graduated as an Industrial Designer in 2011. Since then, she has participated in numerous exhibits, festivals, and runway shows, and has designed costumes for theater, dance, and film, both in Cuba and internationally. Her work has been shown at the Kennedy Center (Washington DC), designlab (Miami), and DORCAM (Doral Contemporary Art Museum), among others. She has won awards for her work as costume designer and art director of video clips, commercials, and films. From 2018-2020 she collaborated with Cuban company Clandestina on “Vintrashe” (vintage + trash), producing one-of-a-kind items using recycled and donated materials with a goal of making fashion more sustainable and ethical.

Manuel Carmona Yebra is the Counsellor for Environment and Oceans at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States (Spain). The European Union Commission has launched a new strategy to make textiles more durable, repairable, reusable, and recyclable, in order to tackle fast fashion, textile waste, and the destruction of unsold textiles, ensuring their production takes place in full respect of social rights.

Dr. Erica Cusi Wortham is a cultural anthropologist with an interdisciplinary practice at George Washington University that spans engineering, social science, art and design.  As Interim Director of the SEAS Innovation Center, M06, and Lecturer at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, she advocates for studio-based, tactile learning and community-driven innovation that centers creative problem-solving, equity and sustainability. At M06, she and her students run a Waste Lab that channels material from the local waste stream into creative projects and learning opportunities.  Waste Lab is part of the university’s interdisciplinary Sustainable Fashion Collective, coordinated by the GW Textile Museum.  You can see some of their programs on instagram @gwinnovationcenter. Picking up threads from her dissertation research with Indigenous media artists and activists in Mexico, Dr. Wortham is actively expanding her work in human-centered design to embrace transition design, or design that envisions sustainable futures.

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