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St. Vincent de Paul - Cincinnati and UC's DAAP are teaming up again for RetroFittings, a fashion show that challenges students to create modern designs from thrift-store materials. / WHEN: Saturday, October 14, 2017 / WHERE: Duke Energy Convention Center / Image: Daniel Smyth

St. Vincent de Paul Is Enlisting DAAP Students For A Creative Fashion Show In October

Fifteen years ago, St. Vincent de Paul - Cincinnati and DAAP teamed up for a unique fashion show. The setting was Bar Louie. The name was RetroFittings. And at the time, adjunct professor Ann Firestone didn’t think the first-year event would see a second.

Fifteen years later, it’s become a pretty big deal. And for good reason. Not only is Firestone an excellent steward, but RetroFittings also hits the sweet spot between philanthropy and fun. That is, it succeeds with an entertaining premise that highlights the struggles of those in need.

Here’s a link to tickets.

And here’s how it works. Forty-five DAAP students get a voucher for $15 each. They go to any of St. Vincent de Paul - Cincinnati's seven thrift stores and use the money to purchase, well, pretty much whatever they want. Then they take their purchases back to the lab — er, DAAP building — and use their design voodoo to “inventively repurpose” them into runway fashion. The only rule is their final product must fall under that year’s theme.

Design voodoo notwithstanding, the DAAP students put a tremendous amount of work into their creations. It shows at the yearly event. Whether they’re repurposing curtains into ballgowns or hand-me-downs into headpieces, the results are always inspiring. And with a theme of avant-garde fashion, 2017’s lineup is primed to be the most conceptually creative (i.e. strangest) one to date.

But where does the philanthropy aspect come in? Well, everything is funneled back to St. Vincent de Paul - Cincinnati. That includes ticket sales and proceeds from an auction as well as a separate curated fashion boutique.

More poetic, however, is the voucher given to the students, which is the same format as the voucher St. Vincent de Paul - Cincinnati provides our neighbors in need.


  • RetroFittings 2017 will take place on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Doors will open at 6:30.
  • It will be located at the Duke Energy Convention Center.
  • The fashion show’s theme will be “avant-garde.”
  • In addition to the fashion show, there will be an auction featuring amazing trip experiences.
  • An event ticket grants access to the RetroFittings curated boutique, a collection of clothing from local thrift stores hand-selected by a committee of fashion experts.
  • Here’s that ticket link again.

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For more information about RetroFittings, check out their website.