Recycled, Up Cycled, Re-Purposed Clothing Design: A Slow Fashion Movement
Fast fashion, while its economic value is powerful, has left in its wake such an environmental wasteland, that advocates have been for many years actively rallying around and promoting solutions to this problem. One of the early pioneers in this movement was Kate Fletcher, who, eight years ago in 2007, then a member of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, UK, coined the term Slow Fashion. Originally, Slow Fashion only recognized handmade clothing; later advocating fair wages, lower carbon footprints, and encouraging zero waste. But as the movement has expanded over the years, it has embraced countless interpretations of eco-friendly design methodologies, including recycled, up cycled, and re-purposed clothing design.
Fashion, now a throwaway commodity in almost every country around the world, has created mountains of waste that now have to be addressed and managed. Recycle, up cycle, re-purpose design methodologies are emerging design solutions. Why buy new fabrics that require precious resources to produce when we have more waste products than we know what to do with?
With this in mind, Rachael Boyd helped me illustrate this design practice by modeling an upcycled t-shirt over a pair of re-purposed t-shirt pants. The top was re-fashioned from a man's t-shirt, sculpting cap sleeves and a heart shaped neckline for a more feminine look; the pants cut and remade from another t-shirt. The colors and design are complimentary, giving this ensemble a unique look that you cannot buy from a department store!!
Mantra Handmade Treasures helped me stand out from the crowd at the Pivot Fashion Show at the Anne and Mark Art Party's closing night bash. The event featured fashion designer, artists, and performers, so so I needed a little help from my friends , like a cookie can use some chocolate chips, or ice cream hot fudge. So my daughter Morgan Levay stepped up to the plate and offered to make some of her hand knit hats for the event.
These outfits would have paled without them, but I also could have slapped blue jeans on these girls and there presence would have been just as stunning. So if you are reading this blog, and have any winter sports activities planned for the upcoming winter season, visit her web site at www.morganbarrylevay.com and pick out a hat to make your winter appearance unforgettable!
People tend to wear darker colors in the winter, although I am not sure why. This Michael Kors white vest 'hand-me-down' from my stepmother inspired me to experiment with softer colors for a winter look. In order to look for specific blends and colors of sweater knits to up-cycle into a winter hat, I shopped on Swap.com, a second hand store web site that allows you to shop using very specific search criteria.
I found the sweater I wanted to use, but I wanted more drama for my ensemble than just a vest and hat, so I hauled my sweater to the nearest fabric store to find something suitable for a cape.
I try to stay away from non-sustainable solutions when I am designing, but because the color match was critical to the outcome of this ensemble, I made this an exception to this rule. And the match and soft hand/drape of this velour made me feel OK about breaking my rule.
So if your winter wardrobe only features dark colors, you are missing out on a variety of fashion opportunities that incorporate whites and softer colors. Especially if your winter activities include snow sports. Blending into the snowy landscape can create some incredible photo shots, as the background does not get upstaged by your darker fashion. Try it, you'll like how you look!!!
Y'see, when I was a girl, fashion was expensive and hard to come by. Even in an upper middle class family, my back-to-school wardrobe was limited to one dress, one jumper, a blouse, and a new pair of saddle shoes. My mother had six kids and managed a tight budget. As the only girl, there were no 'hand-me-downs'.
Thank goodness home economics was offered in public schools, so we girls had the choice of learning to cook or sew. I had no interest in feeding my family of eight, so I enrolled in sewing, and soon learned that I could make clothes that were more interesting (to me) than what I could buy in the department stores.
During my career in Industry, I depended on retail boutiques and department stores for my office attire until one time, that didn't work for me. I had an event to host in Scottsdale Arizona, so needed a few pieces that would work in a resort setting. I shopped for two days, hitting every big time mall in the South SF Bay Area, and found nothing for my efforts. It was February (wrong season), and post winter sales, but no matter the excuse, I ended up empty handed. If I had spent that time sewing instead of shopping, I would have had more than a few outfits for my conference.
These days I take vacations instead of attending conferences, but I sew most of my resort clothes. The t-shirt caprices my model is wearing above and in my blog post preview takes at most 2 hours to complete, from the cutting board to the final hem. Equipped with a sewing machine and a quick turnaround, why aren't more sustainable fashionistas looking into DIY sewing?
Board Member (current)
San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
▪ MS, Educational Psychology (abd) with emphasis in testing, research, and evaluation.
Sonoma State University, Sonoma, CA
▪ BS, Psychology with emphasis in statistics and research methodologies.