Dani Schumaker isn’t the average aspiring fashion designer who turns to Vogue or fashion runways for inspiration. Instead, the School of Education junior values functionality and environmentally friendly practices in her garments.

Jed Moch/Daily

Schumaker’s interest in clothes began when she needed a prom dress in high school.

“My mom made a dress for me a couple years before,” Schumaker said with a chuckle. “She said that she wasn’t going to do it again and that I had to do it. It was very ’50s and it was bad, but that’s where it started.”

After improving her skills, Schumaker has begun selling her pieces online, in addition to taking custom orders. On her website,, Schumaker features designs that range from a long black jacket with a gigantic hood to cuffs with practical pockets that the wearer could actually fit things in.

“I got the idea (for the cuffs) from a friend who kept losing his guitar picks — like three or four a day,” she said. “I think pockets are key and I also like drawstrings so that people of all sizes can buy the same garment. Versatility is really important as well.”

Using recycled vintage fabrics is not only an economic move on Schumaker’s part, but also an environmentally friendly one.

“I live in a co-op, and we’re very much into being sustainable — we recycle and reuse a lot of things,” Schumaker said.

One garment that’s a prime example of the designer’s philosophy of recycling and reusing is the All Tied Up Skirt.

“Someone gave me a bunch of neckties and I was trying to figure what I could do with them,” she explained. “I started laying them side by side and realized that they’re tapered like a skirt.”

During school, Schumaker is content working on new projects, like a dress with about 30 different pieces of fabric and lace in it.

“It’s very piecy and fabulous — I’m really excited about it,” Schumaker said. “Some of (the design style) is recreating, taking it a little from here and there, and then putting it all together. It’s like a ‘Franken-dress’ I suppose.”

With her focus on recycling and versatility, Schumaker is committed to producing fashion that is friendly to both the environment and the consumer.

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