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sustainable fashion design


​Follow The Thread is our signature Fashion Design program offered to adults with developmental disabilities. For 5 months, Creatives and Collaborators team up to learn sustainable fashion design techniques, how to design and implement their designs into a finished garment. Along with branding and business strategies, and access to showcasing opportunities to sell their products. These skills impart artistic recognition, dignity, and financial independence to the young adults and their families.

It is facilitated by an expert and includes vocational mentorship, licensed psychotherapy for caregivers, and business start up tools such as an online shop, business cards, and production supplies. 

Applications being accepted April 1st through July 1st each year.

Submit application by June 1st to be eligible for a scholarship.
​Reserve your spot early.

2023 Follow The Thread Classes to start Monday, July 24th

how it works


Mingle Bazaar (Group Setting) 
​A gathering session for aZul to meet and greet Creatives and Collaborators. The C² Teams get to spend time together and learn about aZul activities. During the Mingle Bazaar the C² Teams participates in social and motor skills activities used to identify the abilities and strengths for the teams, as well as their sensory preferences.


​Phase I (Multiple Team Setting)
​Fashion Design Techniques Training ​

While learning about Fashion Design, teams learn and apply the various techniques used to start creating their own designs. Sessions are lead by facilitators with hands-on, practical applications, as well take home study material.


Phase II (Individual Team Setting)
Personal Branding

In one-on-one workshops personalized to each C² Team, branding concepts are introduced. Tailored for each team's self expression and artistic portfolio.​


Phase III (4 Events)
Artistic Entrepreneurship

​aZul connects the C² Team with local galleries, art fairs, and businesses to showcase and market their brand and start their own micro-enterprise. Social skills are reinforced in a supportive business setting to develop the skills for successful self-employment.​​

hear from previous experience:

"The Follow The Thread program is a WONDERFUL class for anyone with a passion for design. As a teen, I discovered my passion through a hobby of mine. From there, I decided I wanted to become a designer.


Follow The Thread has allowed me to follow my passion and turn it into a business. Through this, I can do what I love and follow my dreams.


Definitely, this program is perfect for anyone with a passion for design and wants to turn it into a business!"

- Devin, Designer and Creative

"Follow The Thread is an amazing fashion design program that provided the tools for my daughter to take her passion for fashion to the next level!


Sandra Raffaelli and Jeanette Vanderhorst lead by example, positively influencing and developing creative thinking and execution skills in design and necessary skills in business."

- Liz, Mother and Collaborator

"You could have looked at the post and just moved on but all the likes, hearts, and comments touched her heart and mine. The look on her face as I read the post "no words".


My girl struggles everyday with her disabilities but with each and every small kind word or gesture is HUGE! Mariah has bloomed in many ways over the past few years and her passion to grow and learn cannot be contained. 


This experience was amazing and can't thank Sandra Raffaelli enough for sharing this spotlight with Mariah. Sandra continues to find ways to help Mariah build her business and provide assistance as she continues to learn her trade. I am so very thankful for you!!!"


- Amanda, Mother and Collaborator

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