Anupama Pasricha, associate professor and chair of the Department of Apparel, Merchandising and Design was honored with St. Catherine University’s 2017 Bonnie Jean Kelly and Joan Kelly Award for Faculty Excellence. Alan Silva, executive vice president and provost, presented her with the $10,000 award at the University’s opening celebration on the St. Paul campus. The distinguished award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in teaching and scholarship that bring external recognition to the University, regionally and nationally.
Born and raised in India, Pasricha moved to the United States with her husband and two daughters in 2001. Four years later, she joined the faculty at St. Kate’s. Since then, she has had a heavy hand in shaping her department’s eco-fashion focus.
Pasricha has 20+ years of global teaching and research experience in traditional Indian textiles, apparel design, product development, socio-cultural aspects of dress, and sustainability. In 2008, Pasricha transformed our fashion and apparel curriculum to incorporate sustainability. She added new courses that focused on sustainable fashion and ethical industry practices, including fair labor and fair trade. She significantly increased state-of- the-art equipment and software in the classroom to enhance learning.
Today, sustainability is infused at every level of St. Kate's Apparel, Merchandising and Design program — from its mission statement to design assignments. Each year, juniors and seniors create full eco-friendly fashion lines and get to share it publicly in Katwalk. In fact, under her leadership, student participation in undergraduate research and in external design competitions has grown significantly. Recently, one of her students, Briana Turnbull ’17, took first place in the Fabric Graphics Association Student Design Challenge for designing avant-garde bike wear.
Pasricha’s research and scholarly work is substantial. She’s authored several peer-reviewed publications — on topics such as “3-D Additive Printing to Create Sustainable Fashion Jewelry,” “Empowering Craftsman And Nurturing Cultural Legacy, and “Self-Objectification Among Women Athletes and Athletic Apparel Selection.” Her presentations are numerous and on wide-ranging topics as well. In 2016, she was invited to speak on “Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Ethical Practices as Integrated Concepts Within Curriculum” in Vancouver, Canada. Earlier this year, she led a talk and discussion on human rights and fast fashion at the University of Minnesota. Last month, she was on a panel that addressed “Fashion Industry Needs and Sustainability” at the University of Delhi, India.
Pasricha is a big proponent of inter-departmental, Inter-institutional and industry partnerships. She’s worked with staff in our Center for Community Work and Learning to facilitate opportunities in the Twin Cities for our students to learn how to make adaptive clothing for elderly and special-needs adults. She’s collaborated with the engineering department of another university to conduct a “Life Cycle Analysis for Sustainable Product Development.” She’s established partnerships with Goodwill Easter Seals of Minnesota to incorporate sustainability projects that are mutually beneficial for student learning and community service.
As an artist and fashion designer, Pasricha has been featured at the Textile Center in Minneapolis, the Minnesota State Fair, and the International Textiles and Apparel Association design exhibit.
Last year, she introduced our community to her R.I.S.E. collection — Repurposed. Indian. Sustainable. Eco-friendly. The entire "Power Suit to Perfect Paola Evening Wear" line was made from Global Organic Textile Standard-certified fabrics from Indian suppliers, and repurposed saris from her personal stash. Even the thread she used was made from recycled polyester. On Saturday, September 9, her new exhibition “Vinyasa: Connecting Global Textiles and Sustainable Design” — featuring contemporary fashion made from eco-friendly Indian fabrics — will open in the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery.
The issue of sustainability, Pasricha has said, “presents one of the major challenges faced by modern society. We are at a time that if we don’t change the way we do things, we will not be able to provide a healthy, livable planet and a healthy, dignified life for future generations.”
About the Bonnie Jean Kelly and Joan Kelly Award
This award was established in 2006 by the late Joan Kelly, in honor of her parents and her sister Bonnie Jean. A successful business woman, longtime University donor and 1946 Phi Beta Kappa graduate in English, Joan Kelly attended both high school and college on St. Kate's campus with her sister who died while a student here.