I love the idea of repurposing old clothes, knickknacks, belts, and so on and giving them new life: turning that maxi into a mini, morphing by mere placement that too-small belt into a suggestive leather necklace , making that single, once-favored earring into a now-favorite pendant.
But recently I’ve been marinating on ways to move beyond these simple changes. (mmm, mmm, mmm…)
See, my friend Julia Campbell,1 a young and funny woman, an awesome artist studying at the University of Iowa, she posted the above photo on her facebook page a while back. Yes, that is a beanie and scarf made entirely from rubber bands. Yes, she admitted the beanie was quite uncomfortable to wear. Still though, doesn’t she look adorable in it?
Here, at least, wearability isn’t really the point. Créativité, passion, action: voila, les buts, n’est-ce pas?
I love the creativity it took to make this: to look at some everyday, useful item and see the possibility for some completely different something. I think fashion is the perfect foray for these types of adventures.
And then Julia went ahead and fashioned a fancy raincoat from trashbags. I know this may not be an entirely new concept2–use what you’ve got, necessity’s a mother, yada yada–but I think sometimes, on a practical level, we see a pipe and all we think to is tobacco and smoke, whatever else Freud might say.
And her trash bag slicker immediately made me think of this, which will be of course “worth” thousands of trash bags:
For my part, I have been building what I call the Island of Mismatched Earrings collar. I’ve been wanting one of those big ol’ “statement necklaces,” or bibs, or collars, or whatever the kids are calling these heavy duty décolletage decorators, dreaming of owning something like this or this or this. Only, you know, free and DIY. Because I am poor.
It’s still a work in progress, as I think it will only look better as it’s filled out with more and more widowed earrings. This will happen organically and eventually. I’m constantly losing earrings, even when I put on those little rubber backies. The base of the bib is a structured velvet belt that was just a tad too small to actually wear and still expect to breathe. So with some strategic pleats, and a few stitches to keep it secure, the once-belt-now-bib has a shape that rounds my shoulders and lies flat across my collar bone.
And I’m literally writing this post and Jezebel turns me on to this madness:
I’ll say again, it’s a halter top made entirely out of TAMPONS! Walter Raes is a British designer who creates crazy-sauce fashion out of household and industrial materials. According to his website, “he takes the disposable remnants of our everyday lives to create his brilliant pieces, explorations in form and function.” THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE.
Giddy Spinster is based in Berkeley and uses used/upcycled stripper heels (let’s be honest) to make these rad planters that are “about hard-working women, the increasingly artificial nature of American femininity, and the impossible images that women face in our society.” Smart. And her bio leads me to believe we’ve got similar life philosophies and would probably have fun over drinks.
All this talk reminds me too of a particular YA book where, in one scene, the protagonist and a few side characters sewed dozens of Matchbox toy cars and Micro Machines onto a dress for some crazy assignment. Maybe one of the girls was studying fashion? If anyone can tell me the title, they’ll get 5 personalized haikus written by yours truly. Just leave your spot-on answer or nice-try guess in the comments.
- Admission: I know Julia because she was BFF with my kid sister when they were in like 2nd and 3rd grade. I would babysit the two of them. The fact that she, and my kid sis obvs, are old enough to be intelligent, dynamic women in their own right makes me feel kind of old. Hi Girls.
- After all, Project Runway’s MO is often “make clothes from shit that would never normally be used to make clothes.” But this is reality vs. Reality TV, which we all know are two very different things.;-)