In just one semester at LIM College, four Sustainability minor students and I had the opportunity to work on an industry project with Free People.
Collaborating with a respected brand like Free People has been a gratifying and important experience. We worked closely with Julie Verdugo, Director of Sustainability, who granted us the chance to apply our academic instruction to real world challenges that Free People and other brands face.
Through a 15-week period we created in-store sustainability initiatives and assessed, scored, and proposed ways to improve a best-selling style, the Happiness Runs Crop. We used the Higg Material Sustainability Index and Product Module and took a deeper, more intimate, look into the Crop Top and how we can improve the overall environmental score. In collaborating with us to develop alternatives and improve the Free People stores and the tank top, Julie Verdugo proved invaluable to our team projects. Julie was a tremendous source of support, providing us welcomed feedback on our research and ideas. She was more than happy to listen to our ideas and offer constructive suggestions that allowed us to better focus our direction and concepts in regards to the project research we completed.
The semester with Free People gave us the chance to test ourselves and be better prepared to enter today’s fields of sustainability and fashion. Perhaps most importantly, we had a unique perspective, a glimpse, and early insight into a global brand, an insight that might otherwise escape us through classroom study alone.
Creatively, it was a humbling experience to have the head of sustainability at Free People engage with us in creating new sustainability initiatives for the brand. In the time it took us to research, analyze, and produce our work, I would realize and appreciate the benefits that, I believe, will improve my approach and sharpen my skills for my career after graduation from LIM. For that I am forever grateful to Free People for taking the time and granting us this amazing experience.