I know, every day, how lucky I am. Not everyone gets to do something they love for a living and do stuff they love for fun. I know that.
These are two dresses I made for a fashion show this past Sunday, one from two pairs of men's black denim jeans, and one from two pairs of men's khaki pants:
runway photos courtesy of Sterling Images
I got an email a few months ago, inviting me to participate in a recycled fashion show at the Austin Museum of Art during Austin Fashion Week. I signed up to create three looks, but ended up only finding two models, so reduced my commitment to two looks. If I'd put more effort into finding the models sooner, I probably would have started pattern work and sewing much sooner. But as it was, and with my travel schedule, I ended up staging something very close to my own personal Project Runway last weekend! Well, a Project Runway appropriate to my skill level.
Our task was to find inspiration from the current exhibit at the AMOA by photographer Chris Jordan, called "Running the Numbers", and to use recycled materials. Please do click on the link if you like; my summary is that he finds interesting ways to pictorially represent the byproduct of overconsumption in American society. A rehabilitated materialist myself, I can really appreciate that.
Five metal zippers, unpicked from five pairs of jeans, all different lengths,
stitched together without breaking one needle. I was working hard and sweating.
Drawing on that inspiration, I started sketching out ideas in June. I had about 4 looks vaguely defined, and then I found my two models (thank you, Tina from glam.spoon, for referring me to Marcy!) and picked the two looks that would flatter their figures best. All the looks revolved around the question, "When is enough really enough?" I wanted to pick recent "trends" in style/ fashion and overdo them in my looks -- in this case, cargo pockets and "hardware" i.e. zippers, chains, etc. As soon as we put the models in the dresses THE DAY BEFORE THE SHOW it was clear I hadn't gone far enough. But what was done was done, and what was left to do was still so much I couldn't have added more work, detail, anything if I'd wanted to.
Pre-show. The runway photos do a better job of showing off the dresses.
What a fantastic experience! There were some fabulous creations by lots of talented designers, many of whom are my friends (like Shauna, Anslee, and Tina). The entire show was coordinated expertly (that was all Tina Sparkles, BTW). My Flickr set with just a few more photos and random commentary is here, and can I just say that I took my first sewing class 4 years ago with this fantastic teacher/ designer/ seamstress/ patternmaker. It was an honor to have my humble dresses on the same runway as her great outfits. If you want to learn to sew, or sew better, or make clothes, and you live anywhere near Austin, make the best investment of your resources and get to one of Shauna's classes. You will not regret.
Even with all that goodness, the very best part of it all was collaborating with my sister. I asked her two days before the show if she could help me execute a piece of jewelry for the show, partly inspired by a Chanel jacket I loved and partly inspired by these gals. My sister must have been pickin' up what I was puttin' down, because when she was done, she suggested more and more pieces, and cobbled together bits of chain in really compelling ways. We made another run to the thrift stores to find chains we could repurpose and I pulled from my closet a body harness Louis and I had been goofing with last summer. The jewelry got a lot of attention at the show and I am encouraging my sister to open a small online shop. Happy times!
Me, Marcy, Jennifer, and my sister, Lynne