Upcycling Meets High Fashion, (Article)

Story from The Mining Journal 6/23/2010 Front Page Article

Upcycling meets high fashion

July 23, 2010 – By JOHANNA BOYLE Journal Ishpeming Bureau

MARQUETTE – What happens when your favorite pair of jeans wears out? Or when your umbrella breaks? What about your family’s old camping tent?

If you know how to “upcycle,” those items can become new pieces of clothing instead of heading for the trash can.

The inaugural (Re)Design Fashion Show at Garden Bouquet and Design Thursday evening gave spectators an idea of what can be done to turn used items into fashionable clothes.

“The fashion show shows you how you can have high fashion and a green ethic,” said Kim Smith-Potts, owner of Garden Bouquet and Design.

The show was organized by Smith-Potts and Anastasia Greer, an art and design major at Northern Michigan University interning at the floral shop. The idea for the show came from an art workshop that advocated using art as a tool for activism.

“I showed some of my clothing I had made,” Greer said of the show. “That’s mainly what I do is sew and make clothes.”

Greer was one of four designers to participate in the show, which featured everything from kids’ clothing to formal wear.

“There is so much creativity and design,” Smith-Potts said. “That’s one of our goals in this business, to support creativity, but also a green ethic.”

Children’s clothing, designed by Paulette Carr, included dresses, pants, hats and skirts refashioned from pieces of adult clothing.

Andrea Pernsteiner’s “everyday upcycled looks” featured skirts and tops created from items like T-shirts, allowing things like race or event T-shirts to be worn in unique ways.

Greer’s line of clothing showcased trendy skirts and outfits, often made of unusual materials, including two skirts made from umbrellas and necklaces made from old T-shirts.

Finally, Lanni Lantto’s line of clothing featured dresses made from everything from a tent to curtains.

The show gave spectators a chance to reimagine what their previously used fabrics could be turned into and gave the local designers a chance to display their talents.

“I’ve been sewing for ever and ever,” Carr said. “It was fun.”

The show filled up quickly until there was standing room only. Plans are being made to move the event to a larger venue for next year.