Colorado State University Students Present Recycled Military Parachutes Exhibit

An exhibition of products made from recycled military parachutes opens this spring at Colorado State University’s Gustafson Gallery. Fall-to-Flight: The Journey of a Recycled Military Parachute opens with a reception at 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 29, and runs through Thursday, Aug. 15. The gallery, part of the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising, is in the Gifford Building, 502 Lake St., Room 318.

The exhibit showcases student designs, ranging from laptop cases to evening gowns, all made from recycled military parachutes donated by Aspen Pointe, a nonprofit organization in Colorado Springs that specializes in veteran rehabilitation through social innovation. The students featured are studying in the Department of Design and Merchandising.

This marks the second year the Department of Design and Merchandising has partnered with Aspen Pointe through apparel design courses taught by Juyeon Park. The partnership repurposes 100 percent nylon parachute material and its cording. The goal of the parachute project is to teach students how to approach sustainable and innovative solutions to extend the life of a military parachute through product development and creative design. As one student said, “Getting to actually touch the parachutes and know that these were once used by a soldier really contributes to understanding how sustainable this project was.”

The exhibit also includes two garments from the Avenir’s historic clothing collection: a wedding dress, dated 1945, that was made with a silk parachute from WWII, and a prom dress, dated 1946, that was constructed from the long-sleeved protective tunic worn by the airman during his jump with a parachute.

Gustafson Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Admission is free. The Department of Design and Merchandising is in the College of Health and Human Sciences, formerly the College of Applied Human Sciences.