Creativity with Purpose:
The Belt Studio Exhibition

| 02/17/2015
I am excited to share the highlights of our second-annual partnership with California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco.  We worked with the Advanced Materiality class and Amy Campos, the class instructor.  The purpose of the class was to have students understand how materiality and design affect global ecology.  More specifically, how could potential waste be transformed into real world usable applications.  This is where 49 Square Miles came in by donating thousands of sample or waste leather belts to the class (about 6,000).  Since the project was focused on “materiality,” or how materials interact with the human body and space, the students’ pieces had to control light, support body weight, and/or control sound.  The results were astounding and inspiring – a light permeating belt wall, a wine holder suspended from the wall, a beautiful seat (see pictures).
The students were excited to take on this creative project as evidenced by their insightful questions during their tour of our offices and the final reception displaying their work.   The students felt empowered by interacting with the professional world and by creating real, working prototypes.  As one student mentioned, “I think this is the best class I have ever taken at CCA.  I learn(ed) not only how to make a beautiful end product, but also how to extend the life cycle of a product, about sustainability, turning unused material into something useful and beautiful."
Not only have we been able to positively influence design students, but also our partnership has “served as a great model and inspiration for other educational programs,” according to Amy Campos.  In fact, Amy won the Interior Design Educators Council’s Member’s Choice award after designing and implementing this course, which we hope can lead to other such partnerships bridging the fashion community with education.
Since one of the byproducts of creating fashion are the many samples that go into creating a final product, we are happy to see that what could have ended up as waste has been artfully repurposed into working models for both residential and commercial use.  We feel so fortunate to work with the creative teams at CCA, and we look forward to continuing our partnership!
Amy Campos - http://www.amycampos.com CCA Website - https://www.cca.edu/