The Color of Fashion

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The Good, Bad, and the Ugly

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Blooms of Summer

At the Pivot Fashion Show at Mark and Anne's Art Party in 2016, the cameras (and audience) loved Ella, our model pictured on the left.  In a crowd of 12 models all wearing beautiful hand crafted hats, one  attendee came running over as she picked Ella out from our crowd of fashionable beauties.  While it is obvious her hat, designed by Stella Shen (stellafloral@yahoo.com), is sensational, it is important that our outfit supported rather than coordinated with this floral creation.

 

What this boils down to is that the hat takes center stage in this ensemble, and that the outfit supports the head wear rather than competing with it, or for that matter, matching it.  If we had dressed Ella in yellow or green, the outfit would have cheapened, ruined, or tarnished the elegance of the hat. Instead, by dressing our model in the softer hues of the grasses supporting the blooms in the hat, the color pop of the flowers speak for the entire ensemble.

 

This is a good rule to follow if you do not want to be challenged with coordinating different prints and colors, which is hard to do tastefully.  The term 'color pop' refers to a digital image in which part of an image is shown in color, while the rest of the image featured in grey or a dull monochrome. In fashion, using color sparingly, but dramatically, can often be a key to creating drama without going overboard.

 

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Re-purposed Girl's Summer Dress

Children grow out of clothing so fast, its handly to have some sewing skills to re-purpose some of our discarded clothing for them.  This camilsole was eight inches larger than the little girl, so all I have to do was reduce the size of the original top through pleating.  Then I shortened the straps and presto!

 

I have seen adorable dresses made from men's dress shirts for women and little girls (see http://www.pinterest.com/pin/518828819542538285/ and http://www.pinterest.com/pin/518828819543363333/). The best part of sewing from discarded clothing is that if you make a mistake, you can either rip it out or discard it as originally planned!

 

Darcy

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A Simple Summer Bolero

Edgy, yet conservative, this kind of styling works for all ages, young and old.  And most events, casual to dressy.  In this picture we have featured a black and white design, but imagine the colors and patterns this style garment can support, and the combinations and permutations go as far and wide as the mathematical computations our minds are capable of can go.

 

Stripes and polka dots, contrasting plaids, primary color contrasts with trims to bring them together, the design palette for creating this garment is unlimited.  And  the garment itself provides a spectacular fashion lift to a simple camisole or tank top.  And the beauty of this style is that it is simple to construct.  No darts, princess seams, or hard-to-fit challenges.  If you want some help designing your pattern for this top, let me know!

 

This pin was borrowed from Etsy, but the source was not available, so I do not know who to give credit to for this wonderful photograph. 

 

Darcy

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More on Hats

Having just posted a blog on my favorite fashion pics from the British Royal Wedding (see below), my choice of photos confirmed that hats were all the rage at this event.  History has also shown us that the English take their head wear seriously.  I am sure that the millinery market is, and will remain, a healthy fashion industry in Britain.

 

But what surprised me to the point of utter confusion, is the fact that these big hats were obviously a visual barrier to wedding guests behind these hats, once seated inside Saint George's Chapel.  How could anyone sitting behind the Duchess of Cornwall for example, see past her wide brim pink 'Attic Insulation' hat?  Wouldn't protocol have some bearing on the rules of etiquette  concerning the size of some of these creations?

 

I found most of the millinery fashion at the royal wedding more attractive the smaller it was, because being 'understated' at a wedding is a good idea in general, so as not to upstage the bride.  But maybe at such an international event, no one is capable of upstaging the bride, so guests wanted to stand out rather than blend in.  Whatever the reason behind this amazing display of millinery fashion brought to us by the British Royals and American Elite, I am a firm believer that simplicity can 'stand out', what ever size it is, as illustrated here by model Sareeta Panda!

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Highlights of the British Royal Wedding

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Nature Provides Rich Color Design Pallets

 

The designer I admire the most for his use of color in his collections is Manish Arora, often referred to as "the John Galliano of India". His rich palette of psychedelic color combinations featuring embroidery, appliqué, and beading details, are visual feasts for the fashion enthusiast and connoisseur.  Coming from a county renowned for its colorful silk saris, Arora brings exotic color to the fashion appetites of the rest of the world. 

 

Taking a lead from this designer, this re-fashioned yoga pant is from a discarded knit top. The colors may have seemed overpowering for a top, but work fabulously as a pair of pants! Photographed against a fiery sunset background at the end of a dock, the viewer is reminded how closely the colors of nature can be aligned with the colors of fashion.

 

Darcy

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My Fashion Pics at the Oscars!

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The Splender of Suspenders!

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Slow Fashion Metholologies

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!!

 

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Zero Waste Designing

Considering the waste of fabric scraps alone, zero waste designing is becoming more and more strategic in the Slow Fashion movement in the United States. In New York City, if 10% or more of your commercial waste is textile material, you are required to recycle it. This law has produced a secondary market of designers using these remnants in their designs.  One such example is Leanne Marshall.  You can see an amazing video of her wedding dress designs at https://www.facebook.com/rackednational/videos/1906089999421183/.

 

Leanne gets her scraps from Fabscraps, a company dedicated to the middleman business this city law has produced, collecting this waste and redistributing it creatively (http://fabscrap.org).   In the Bay Area, Fabmo is stepping up to this plate. This non profit organization (http://www.fabmo.org) collects seasonal waste from design businesses all over the Bay Area, bringing exquisite textiles, wallpapers, tiles, leathers, trims, etc. to local makers, and in the process, diverts about 70 tons/year from landfill!  Most of these samples are swatches, so designers have to think small (and accessorize) with these discards. 

 

But zero based designing is not just about figuring out what to do with someone else's scraps. The most efficient design strategy is not to create scraps in the first place. The vest that Stormy is wearing in this picture is a scrap of leather left over from a custom architecture utility belt.  The only scraps discarded from this hide were the circles cut out for the armholes!

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Fish Leather Belts

Fish leather is available in many colors and finishes, and makes a great leather substitute for making belts. Colors are unlimited, as every 'tanner' can use any dye available in the marketplace.  Finishes typically include satin, silk, and suede; I prefer the silk and suede for a softer finish and richer look. As you can see from the belt in this photo, the fish scales are clearly visible  on the surface texture of the pelt, which adds an exotic finish to the belt.

 

The best pelts come from Salmon, Perch and Carp, although Wolf fish and Tilapia skins are also used.  Rays and Sharks are also harvested, but its important to make sure to be selective about the skins you use.  Rays are used exclusively for their skins, so are not farmed responsibly.  The same is true for Sharks, who are often farmed for part of their bodies and thrown back into the ocean to die.  Salmon, Perch and Carp are, in most fishing industries, farmed responsibly, meaning they are subject to fishing regulations and restrictions, so they are sustainable according to current market conditions.  This could change, so its important to stay on top of current events.

 

Up until fish skins were harvested into leather pelts, their skins were always discarded, so by using fish leather, you are supporting a recycling process, which is part of participating in sustainable fashion.  However, the fish skin does need to be soaked in a brine solution, which depending on the volume of product being processed, can create a disposable waste issue.   So just stay on top of your environmental issues at all times, and try as best as possible to balance production with the environment, so we can all breathe deeper!

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Moving Faster Toward Slow Fashion

Fast Fashion is broken, and needs to be mended. As the second biggest polluting industry in the world today after oil, it is morally unconscionable to dress our bodies in attire that ends up defiling the natural beauty of our environment. Mankind is the only creature on this earth that has and does prioritize self over the integrity of our ecosystem, and this behavior has got to change. It is up to each and everyone of us to play a part in helping to influence this behavior to protect the earth that we depend on.
There are many ways to mend Fast Fashion, but the fastest and most direct is to stop buying from retailers who are supporting this supply chain. If there is no demand, the supply will only dry up. Those critical of this solution will argue that this industry is bringing many third world countries out of poverty. My rebuttal is that this is a false economy, as the cost for cleaning up these environments has not been factored in. Plus, the workers producing our clothes do not make living wages, and consequently are simply another form of slavery that our country and many European countries are supporting. Enslaving whole populations is not ‘offering’ them an alternative to poverty.
As illustrated in this article https://sugru.com/blog/fashion-is-b..., mending is an excellent skill to facilitate the longevity of individual items of clothing. But the alternatives to Fast Fashion are numerous, and often much more stylish. This article http://stylecaster.com/the-7-habits... does a great job of helping us understand that fashion and style are not packaged in main stream retail!
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Funky Fall Fashion

Funky Fashion Meets Public Art

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