Designer Shares Her Love of Sustainable Luxury

Mimi Prober has a deep appreciation for history and handcraft.

A pioneer of the sustainable luxury mindset, Prober has been experimenting with antique textiles and natural dye techniques since she was a student studying fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Back then, finding new uses for old fabrics wasn’t as common, or even a consideration, she says. “Upcycling” may be on trend now, but the term wasn’t even used in common vernacular until a few years ago. Prober recalls the trash bins in work rooms filled with leftover fabric fragments (though Prober notes that FIT now has a robust sustainability program, and, as a graduate, she has participated in sustainability grants with FIT faculty in the textile department to study and bring to life the process of “farm to fashion”).

While she is at Cornell University as the designer-in-residence at the Jill Stuart Gallery from Oct. 13 to Nov. 9, she will meet with students, critique their work and exhibit her own. She will also create a new garment made from pieces that were slated to be retired from the Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection, maintained by the Department of Fiber Science & Design, within the College of Human Ecology.

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