Future Forecast: The Recap

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This fall I took a detour from my usual pattern making and created a sustainable fashion collection. I still kind of can’t believe it myself! I’m going to post a 3 part blog series about the runway show I organized, my design process in creating the collection, and my reflections about the process. Keep an eye out for parts one and two!

The inspiration for this collection bubbled up during one of the classes I taught this spring. As a teacher, I love to learn and experience. I feel like the more hands on I am, working through the techniques and lessons I’m conveying to my students, the more empathic and truly helpful I can be for them. After watching my amazing students wrap up their end of year fashion show, I thought, plainly, 'I think it’s time for me for me to put on one of these things.’

A delightful swirl of flowers and fabrics and beautiful colors.

A delightful swirl of flowers and fabrics and beautiful colors.

I spent a lot of time in the spring sketching and thinking about fabric. The whole thing evolved pretty organically from there. I ordered swatches, I sewed some test garments, I drafted patterns, and I thought about my studio practice and what I might like to incorporate into this collection.

By mid summer I was fully immersed, working through design issues and challenges in the same way my students do in class. It felt good to be engaged in that experience and gave me a new appreciation for their hard work and thought process. As an artist, it also felt really good to be creating things from some sort of compulsion inside me. And it felt good to do so with the intention of crafting a thoughtful expression of fashion for the future.

Perhaps as strong as my desire to create is a need to collaborate. As I worked on pieces for the show, I started reaching out to folks I admired and who’s creative vision through design I felt a kinship with. As I connected with each person, the collection evolved. I decided to take an editorial approach, styling my pieces with items from a number of designers and boutiques I had decided to collaborate with. Since a fashion show only lasts a matter of minutes, why not build in an experience? How could I bring together folks interested in slow fashion to spark conversation and grow community within greater Boston.

Patches by Slow Process (Photo by Todd Purple)

Patches by Slow Process (Photo by Todd Purple)

Nathalia JMag (photo by Ke Flickz)

Nathalia JMag (photo by Ke Flickz)

Hot Foot Vintage (Photo by Todd Purple)

Hot Foot Vintage (Photo by Todd Purple)

Peston (photo by Ke Flickz)

Peston (photo by Ke Flickz)

So I decided to grow the event from a runway show to a whole slow fashion marketplace, or exchange. Several of the designers and boutiques who provided pieces for the runway show set up their wares and chatted with slow fashion enthusiasts all night. It was wonderful to see people making connections and meeting new friends. I had a killer line up of vendors, including Slow Process, Practice Space, Dyer Maker/Craftwork Somerville, Nathalia JMag, Peston, and Hot Foot Vintage.

When it came time for the runway, the reality of what had been crafted hit me. I told my models, “it’s the apocalypse! But, like, a good one where nature reclaims the earth and everyone creates fabulous looks from reclaimed materials!” Sometimes the real core of a project doesn’t reveal itself until after it’s come into being. It’s amazing how that stuff works. I think this story really crystallized as my MIL Sheryl (of Thistle and Bone Floral Design) was finishing up the amazing floral set pieces, made from a variety of flowers, greenery, and fabric scraps entwined around steel tower-like structures.

The day of the event is a blur. I can’t even understand how it came together but there was definitely a bit of magic in the air. Each person who participated filled a unique and important role and it was wonderful to see each persons unique ideas converge into a fun and vibrant expression of fashion. Can you tell I’m already feeling nostalgic about it? What can I say, I’m a softie.

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All the models wore either borrowed, thrifted, or their own shoes. The bright teal and lavender socks are all vintage deadstock from the 80s. All of the jewelry not made by a collaborating designer was also thrifted. The floral head pieces, earrings, and ‘tattoos’ were also created by Thistle and Bone Floral, who shared leftover flower bits with my amazing hairstylist, Brianna Signor and my makeup artists, Kayla Hall & Liz Collins.

I used a limited number of textiles in this collection, including both new and vintage fabrics. I created tops from a vintage cotton blend seersucker and both tops and dresses using an antique embroidered table cloth. My main fabric was a domestically produced (Texas grown cotton, knit in North Carolina) organic heavyweight french terry. It’s truly one of the coziest, squishiest fabrics I’ve ever worked with. Amy Lou Stein (Dyer Maker/Craftwork Somervillle) helped me create the most amazing color palette using natural dyes. I tried my hand at indigo, tea, and avocado. She dyed fabric and felt using weld, brazilwood, as well as creating amazing ‘prints’ by combining Sumac (tannin) soaked fabric and rusty objects, including a rusty, abandoned Somerville DPW snow shovel. I also created my own textiles, including felt using wool from Tree House Farms and ‘rag rug’ inspired fabric & belts, woven using scraps from my studio and from cutting out other pieces in the collection. I also embroidered a few pieces using vintage crewel wool that I’ve collected over the years. I used so many of my favorite techniques in this collection!

So here’s the looks from the runway with descriptions! (Photography by Ke Flickz and Todd Purple)

Natasha wears a bomber jacket made from organic cotton terry & ‘rag rug’ fabric. Shorts were sewn using the wrong side of the terry and an ingio waistband. Her tshirt is silk, rust dyed by Dyer Maker. Her wooden bangle is by  Non Issue Studio .

Natasha wears a bomber jacket made from organic cotton terry & ‘rag rug’ fabric. Shorts were sewn using the wrong side of the terry and an ingio waistband. Her tshirt is silk, rust dyed by Dyer Maker. Her wooden bangle is by Non Issue Studio.

Viviann wears a mock neck sweatshirt tee with ‘rag rug’ sleeves. Her skirt is by Nathalia Jmag and her bracelet is by Peston.

Viviann wears a mock neck sweatshirt tee with ‘rag rug’ sleeves. Her skirt is by Nathalia Jmag and her bracelet is by Peston.

Adaline wears a vintage seersucker embroidered tee, with a long sleeve sweater by Dyer Maker and pants by  Miranda Bennett Studio , care of Practice Space.

Adaline wears a vintage seersucker embroidered tee, with a long sleeve sweater by Dyer Maker and pants by Miranda Bennett Studio, care of Practice Space.

Rachelle wears a vintage seersucker embroidered tee, with a vintage button up from  Vivant Vintage , Skirt by  Ilana Kohn  care of Practice Space, and collar jewelry by Peston.

Rachelle wears a vintage seersucker embroidered tee, with a vintage button up from Vivant Vintage, Skirt by Ilana Kohn care of Practice Space, and collar jewelry by Peston.

Mia wears an indigo shibori lawn tee and belt embellished with vintage trim with a jumpsuit by Hackwith care of Practice Space. Her earrings are by Peston and the bangle is by Non Issue Studio

Mia wears an indigo shibori lawn tee and belt embellished with vintage trim with a jumpsuit by Hackwith care of Practice Space. Her earrings are by Peston and the bangle is by Non Issue Studio

Sylvea wears a tee dyed terry mock neck crop top with rib knit sleeves and a terry skirt with a check pattern made from fabric scraps. She also wears a Dyer Maker silk velvet eco printed scarf and a segmented wooded bangle by Non Issue Studio.

Sylvea wears a tee dyed terry mock neck crop top with rib knit sleeves and a terry skirt with a check pattern made from fabric scraps. She also wears a Dyer Maker silk velvet eco printed scarf and a segmented wooded bangle by Non Issue Studio.

Christa wears a terry mock neck dress with ‘rag rug’ sleeves and matching handwoven belt fastened with a vintage brooch.

Christa wears a terry mock neck dress with ‘rag rug’ sleeves and matching handwoven belt fastened with a vintage brooch.

Angela wears an dress made from an antique embroidered linen tablecloth. The under dress is made from orange terry knit (a last minute gift from a friend helping me to finish sewing my collection. It had been in her stash for ages.) and was sewn up just days before the show to go under the other piece. The belt is cotton twill, hand embroidered with crewel yarn. Earrings are by Peston.

Angela wears an dress made from an antique embroidered linen tablecloth. The under dress is made from orange terry knit (a last minute gift from a friend helping me to finish sewing my collection. It had been in her stash for ages.) and was sewn up just days before the show to go under the other piece. The belt is cotton twill, hand embroidered with crewel yarn. Earrings are by Peston.

Natasha wears a vintage seersucker embroidered tee, cotton gauze scarf by Dyer Maker, and pants by  Rachel Craven  care of Practice Space. Her wooden bangle is by  Non Issue Studio .

Natasha wears a vintage seersucker embroidered tee, cotton gauze scarf by Dyer Maker, and pants by Rachel Craven care of Practice Space. Her wooden bangle is by Non Issue Studio.

Dariana wears a cotton terry skirt with a check pattern made from fabric scraps and a handmade felt necklace. The yellow top is by Nathalia JMag (dyed with turmeric) and the long sleeve undershirt is secondhand.

Dariana wears a cotton terry skirt with a check pattern made from fabric scraps and a handmade felt necklace. The yellow top is by Nathalia JMag (dyed with turmeric) and the long sleeve undershirt is secondhand.

Sierra wears a cotton terry top with indigo and weld dyed color blocking. Her skirt uses the reverse terry with a rust/tannin dyed trim. Her necklace is made by Tree House Farms and wrist scrunchy is care of Practice Space.

Sierra wears a cotton terry top with indigo and weld dyed color blocking. Her skirt uses the reverse terry with a rust/tannin dyed trim. Her necklace is made by Tree House Farms and wrist scrunchy is care of Practice Space.

Jillian wears an indigo terry skirt with reverse terry stripes made from scraps and a shirt made from an antique linen tablecloth. Underneath she wears a mock neck tee from Vivant Vintage. Her indigo velvet scarf is by Dyer Maker and her earrings are by Peston.

Jillian wears an indigo terry skirt with reverse terry stripes made from scraps and a shirt made from an antique linen tablecloth. Underneath she wears a mock neck tee from Vivant Vintage. Her indigo velvet scarf is by Dyer Maker and her earrings are by Peston.

Lael wears a french terry mock neck tee with a ‘rag rug’ woven panel and high side vents. Her skirt is terry dyed with iron and tannin.

Lael wears a french terry mock neck tee with a ‘rag rug’ woven panel and high side vents. Her skirt is terry dyed with iron and tannin.

Viviann wears a terry faux wrap skirt with a weld dyed waistband and a scoop neck tank made from an antique embroidered tablecloth. Her jacket is made by Slow process and her striped bralette is by Nathalia JMag.

Viviann wears a terry faux wrap skirt with a weld dyed waistband and a scoop neck tank made from an antique embroidered tablecloth. Her jacket is made by Slow process and her striped bralette is by Nathalia JMag.

Sylvea wears a cotton terry tee with an iron/tannin rust print and an Ilana Kohn skirt care of Practice Space.

Sylvea wears a cotton terry tee with an iron/tannin rust print and an Ilana Kohn skirt care of Practice Space.

Adaline wears a terry tee with weld dyed side panels and a terry pencil skirt with an indigo waistband. Her leggings, backpack, and wrist scrunchy are care of Practice Space. Her necklace is by Peston.

Adaline wears a terry tee with weld dyed side panels and a terry pencil skirt with an indigo waistband. Her leggings, backpack, and wrist scrunchy are care of Practice Space. Her necklace is by Peston.

Christa wears a terry faux wrap skirt dyed with avocado. Her t-shirt is by Slow Process (tea dyed by me) and her bleached, cropped flannel is by Emmy Ember.

Christa wears a terry faux wrap skirt dyed with avocado. Her t-shirt is by Slow Process (tea dyed by me) and her bleached, cropped flannel is by Emmy Ember.

Sarah wears a weld dyed terry dress with reverse terry accents and a ‘rag rug’ woven belt. The jeans are her own, handmade by the model herself! Her earrings are by Peston.

Sarah wears a weld dyed terry dress with reverse terry accents and a ‘rag rug’ woven belt. The jeans are her own, handmade by the model herself! Her earrings are by Peston.

Rachelle wears a terry tshirt dress with indigo neckband, avocado dyed sleeves, and brazilwood dyed wool appliques.

Rachelle wears a terry tshirt dress with indigo neckband, avocado dyed sleeves, and brazilwood dyed wool appliques.

Mia wears a cut out sleeve terry tee dyed with weld and avocado. Her long sleeve sweater is by Dyer Maker and the pants are by Ilana Kohn care of Practice Space. Her earrings are by Peston and her bangle is by Non Issue Studio.

Mia wears a cut out sleeve terry tee dyed with weld and avocado. Her long sleeve sweater is by Dyer Maker and the pants are by Ilana Kohn care of Practice Space. Her earrings are by Peston and her bangle is by Non Issue Studio.

Mckenzie wears a terry mini dress with avocado and indigo dyed neck and sleeve bands. Her dress is embelished with vintage crewel wool embroidery and felt applique.

Mckenzie wears a terry mini dress with avocado and indigo dyed neck and sleeve bands. Her dress is embelished with vintage crewel wool embroidery and felt applique.

If you’d like to learn more about this collection and the process of creating it, visit the collection page here.