Saturday, December 15, 2007

who's Style?

When recycling your old fashion magazines think of cut and paste, it's fun, reduces stress and is good for gifts....well maybe.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

the amazing DISconnect

I have been busy getting another degree determined to figure out what created the state of the state aka how can so many good, intelligent and well meaning people function and maintain a set of arbitrary rules and relationships based on traditions that have been so full of dogma and dung that they should have collapsed ages ago?

We all know the king has no clothes and appears to be protected only by the national myths. This is the same rhetoric underlying the business as usual, turn a lemon into lemonade sit com of promo voice and the Home Shopping Network suggesting lightweight ponchos for the global warming trend. Really! this from an an article in the Seattle Times (12/2/07) by M.Barbaro as "weird weather has big effect on business." Does this not suggest a change in the why and what of business, a wake up to consumer madness? .....Pshaw darlin' it's now to win as the maddest hatter of all! Ta ra ta ra.....for:

true to the business mantra, several fashion industry leaders are hiring climatologists in order to make fast fashion suitable for the new era. How long before we point to the king and say "hey dude you're up for a bad case of melanoma!" and understand the cancer in us is the cancer we have become in the push for market dominations reliant on resource abuses. Well I see the duh in the TA DA! and won't be keeping quiet.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Extra Extra

In the original Lincolnian vision of helping hands capitalism I am hosting ads It sounds good as the hook is I will be harboring ads that are relevant to fashion ethos. I wonder what will show up?

Holidays are approaching and that means trash and more trash; it is a time of year that we really create a lot of stuff made to throw away. Haute Trash was part of a Seattle Art Museum "event" last week to put trash, the issue, in the face of ......well and I know now that they recycle the costumes as I did wonder how long a life they had after the runway? I mean yogurt lid minis are not always the proper attire.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Arts and Crafts Revival

This piece is in homage to the original movement of the later 19th century that sought to raise aesthetic standards as well as improve conditions for workers, believing that beauty was a result best achieved by contented labor.and that beautiful design would improve the whole of society. That they were thinking in wholistic, sophisticated terms well advanced of the capitalist economic sector, deserves respect and remembrance. We should also be reminded that they were eventually undermined by the marketing of the machine made as being the better more modern product.

So here's to the great handmade revival, the crafters uprisings and all that creative independence and here's to you Stickley, Morris, Engels, Ashbee, Wright, the most famous Anonymous and all who followed their art. I thank you for the beauty you gave this world.

Oh and the chair was painted and stenciled. The seat fabric was replaced and machine stitched to mirror the pattern of the chairs back with a little trapunto to punch out the design.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

re-do Home Ec fashion

This 80's chrome chair was a 3rd level rescue. After washing the rust brown velveteen I appliquéd the floral motif using a fusible adhesive with topstitching then stippled the centers. Curves work well if you dislike fraying; edge stitch the straights to keep them tame. This chair still isn't comfortable with the bar back but it looks great and works in the studio for a short perch.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Okay, I am a harpy when it comes to fashion I abhor the fast fashists. I realize that Godot isn’t coming, Uncle Sam is lunching with Big Brother and sorry, yes, Oz was faked. So let’s embrace the truth for denial is absurd and boring.

I read “The Waste Makers”: by Vance Packard (1960) over summer. This book showed up when I made a wrong turn. I flipped it open and read “In the fifties, designers in a great many fields earnestly studied the obsolescence-creating techniques pioneered in the field of clothing and accessories, particularly those for women,” Then, later “Every industry tries to emulate the women’s fashion industry. This is the key to modern marketing.” (page 71 ) The universe spoke and I was paying attention.

So now I am angry. I feel used, manipulated, disrespected even and yet I can’t just un-love “fashion”. Style, good design and change are part of the best of being human; we are drawn to beauty, novelty, fresh ideas. The question is how to navigate the balance between desire and need? What is style lust and what is the longer, loving relationship that is considerate to the unity of life and planet. and is it possible to have both?

Perhaps the answer is in the natural progression that evolves from street expressions as culture and art combine. New Wave, Punk, Goth and Grunge with Hip Hop opening the door for Rap; all names that evoke the power and influence of Street Up Style. It’s the music, clothing and expression of change, the voices for alternatives. The Beats of the 50’s influenced Givenchy. The spare simple lines of the black Capri pants and turtleneck sweater he designed for Audrey Hepburn was plucked from the coffee houses. The look became fashion news when it appeared on the big screen The cycle constantly repeats as ideas are snagged and then sold by those with the means to exploit them

Sustainable style is the antidote to the fashion pushers. It embraces the heart and mind, is ethical and wholistic, it is the alternative to madness. It is recycouture and organic cottons. It is repurposing and hemp. It is about taking responsibility and taking care of a great place called earth in a great venture called life. Sustainable style is about empowerment and saying no to being used and it is up to each one of us.

Privatizers and pillagers are cracking the Wall of Denial in many sectors; yet consumer habits are hard to break. Stay tuned……

Monday, October 8, 2007

Display for Sustainable Ballard Festival

Full Circle Window

I want to thank:
Patricia of the Full Circle Yarn Shop in Ballard for her support of the Recycouture classes and her window.
Lou Kinner of Nelson's Sewing Machine for repairs on the machines that were donated for use by
The Wallingford Senior Center, Marcella and
The Northwest Senior Center who also provided the space to work in,
and to the wonderful people I had the pleasure of guiding as they turned out some really great, creative pieces.
Andrea, Beatrice, Carol, Christine, Debra, Nicole, Vija and Vivienne!
You all are an inspiration and a lot of fun.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Dark Side of Species "Success"

Age of Innocence

Price of SuccessEXCESS

Hi I just finished this wall hanging quilt based on a photo of my son and motifs from the innocent images (naive) of the 50's . I think using fiber art to explore social and political commentary has a fine tradition. The first US flag was a fiber art construct sewn up by Betsy Ross to be symbolic of the colonies statement of freedom from tyranny. Burning the mass produced models later down the timeline was also a statement.

This piece uses about 80% re-purposed and leftover fabrics so it's legit here. I used hand and machine stitches, fabric paints, freezer paper stencils (great for reuse and easy) photos that were photocopied and transfered, (the toy soldiers from the 60's, stitched to the lower right corner) appliquéd bits, embroidery, trapunto, fabric markers, beads and torn apart silk flowers which make great ready made appliqués. I also had to dye some pieces to get the color to work across the scene. It took a chunk of time to do, but was really satisfying. As ideas emerged and changed so did the work
If you get inspired and fabric is your medium go for it!

Class photos coming soon!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

sheer strength

Re-purposed curtain with a ready made border
I was just playing when I painted this piece. The paint bled through, so I blotted it with a fold and got the shadow image. Embroidery and blocked areas then played out the story of strength in vulnerability and the attempt at balance.
PS the classes are over now but new ones will start in January. Watch for a window display of recyked and ecowise garments at the Full Circle Yarn Shop in Ballard This will be up through the Sustainable Ballard festival on the last weekend of September. See you there!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Sew Basic and REcyCOuTuRE classes

Hello Recycouturiers,
The class intro is Monday July 23rd for both the Basic Skills Sewing and the Recycouture classes.
Wednesday the 25th is the next Recycouture class and the following Monday resumes the Basics ...and on until the 27th and the 29th respectively. The hours for all sessions are from 2-4. I am sorry if there has been some confusion. I can't wait to meet you all.

The full class information is posted on the Sustainable Ballard website. Copy and paste the long url
or just go to and check out the events list or the home page calendar; where you can click on the 23 which is the date of the free introduction class.

I found this semi finished dresser scarf at an estate sale and added the figure and the lamp from a blown up photograph. A good skirt or apron panel perhaps ...right now it hangs awaiting inspiration.

See you in class!

Mixed Greens Gallery

The 3 postings under this one are all photos of reclaimed garments from the Shoreline Community College costume closets 2005 clean out. The Rachel and City Birds Skirts were once mens slacks; I leave the waistbands and pockets adding darts and nipping in side seams and center backs to focus on the fun of the applied designs. The old menswear wools are machine washed to assure durability, shake out moth damage and just because I won't work on it otherwise. I like recycled fabrics but the residual body traces need to be eliminated, thank you.

City Birds

Remember Rachel Carson

Tweeds in the Tree of Life

Phoenix Rising

recycled denim jeans skirt
acrylic fabric paint
and metallic threads

Monday, May 21, 2007


Hmm, It is late May 2007 and when I googled in recycouture all I found was the show from the Tokyo Museum (great) a French site and a couple of N Y Museum archive articles. So what is going on here? Like global warming the US appears to be reality challenged and though many have scaled the wall of denial many more are kept too busy and bewitched by the American Paradigm .

Recycouture is about creative innovation, a claim for independence from the mob state of style. Could this stem from the legacy of the designer dictators; whom I have adored and studied for years? It first appears a contradiction but I am thinking it is a striving for new balance. Chanel brought knits and sportswear to the fore, Schiapparelli merged fashion and art, Edith Head helped create Hollywood celebrity, Dior guided the return to the "feminine" after WWII -which also illustrates the link between business, government and culture; I could go on (dare me!) the important thing is that they created real change that converged with changing lifestyles.

Okay then, the next balancing act is with the resources we use and the relationship we have to the rest of life- human, animal and plant. This stems from the individual's challenge to find balance between self (wants and needs) and unity (sharing, caring and interconnected truths). So far we are good at ego (self) and the small unities of religions, cults, nations etc. but those institutions have blinded us to the bigger picture.

Recycouture is a medium of exploration that is easily accessible, reduces waste, is fun and challenging without extolling a heavy price for "failure" which really can't happen, because when you start at O a negative is a contradiction! This is how we can embrace change in a world gone astray. (Extrapolate current policies and systems then factor in the resources and the energy to mass cycles and limits- well what's your answer, really I would like to see more interest, after all its just LIFE)

PS I do believe humans have always felt challenged and afraid which explains a lot of the constructs and institutions and yet our spirits remain undaunted......way cool.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Lacemakers United

Jacket reclaimed from the Shoreline CC Theatre Department toss out. I liked the wool and it fit so I added a button & buttonhole to close it higher in front. It was machine washed, gentle and cold (as was the red suit- see that blog for more on washing) I let out the hem to cut it off for trim. The black wool fringe was made by wrapping a ruler, sliding it off and stitching along the top before cutting along the bottom. Big yarn stitches make the webtrails and some beads from stash completed the design. The lacemaker on the sleeve and the little web on the shoulder were added later. I find that projects sometimes appear done but later call for attention; I listen and revise.

Little Red Suit

This is a suit that was being purged from the Shoreline Community College Theatre Department. I asked and was granted permission to cart off a few garments. This one was already cute and so 50s. It only needed a washing (machine on gentle, dry on delicate for a few minutes then hang to finish; wool may shrink but I don't like the dry cleaning chemicals) I added the padded bias hem detailing out of vintage 60s fabric and then an undertrim of black cotton gauze. The fabric flowers are separate pins so I can play with placement. Actually, one is sewn onto black elastic aka vintage wrist corsage. They were really fun and easy to make.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Old Coat

The coat was an estate sale leftover (free!) Why? Stains; stains that remained after cleaning. A few of them were large and awkward in shape and placement, but they disappeared under appliques of felt and silk. Bored with floral and paisley I bought a book on Bacteria and micro organisms from the Pepin Press, which inspired my design. A little beaded trim and another rag is redeemed. PS when you've nothing to lose you find freedom.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

not Shrunk-FELTED

when you didn't intend to shrink it - a little re-styling may be in order. When too minimized to wear or when the knit takes the hand of a board, then it is great for cut outs and appliqués -there's no ravel in felted fiber!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

My Editorial Comment as it appeared in the Seattle Weekly:

Street Up

Thanks for the fun, inspiring, good-to-be-alive article ["The Cosby Effect," Dec. 13]. One little thing bothered me: " Or, says Seattle Central Community College apparel design instructor Hisako Nakaya, maybe it's just a telltale sign that the days of a top-down, monolithic fashion industry determining what's in or out are over."

I think we need to back up her point by a few decades. The top-down fashion dictates were smashed by Brando's white tee, leather jacket, and jeans in the '50s On the Waterfront; when the '60s popped, so did minis and boutiques—rock inspired—while the top designers were doing Jackie O. suits and pillbox hats, until they realized the huge market they were missing. Enter the bohemian look of the '70s, and Yves Saint Laurent made news with his rich hippie looks. Lagerfield tried doing $2,000 grunge; it was short-lived but obviously street up. My last example is the skull of '70s punk making its way to the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog ('06) along with the Juicy label doing their version of skull and wings on the back of a hoodie. No, the great ideas from the street have been snagged by designers for quite some time, and the creatives who inspire don't often get the rewards.


Alright, so why did I feel the need to respond over a little misconception? I reacted to the illusion that constructs and maintains a paradigm that is repeated in most walks of life (wearing Manolo's) It is a classic hierarchal concept that certain people deserve a position in society because they are worthier than others. It supports the illusion that talent and hard work will be recognized and rewarded with steps up the ladder; therefore the ladder is worthy of maintenance by all.

But wait a minute:

Design stars are needed to generate profits throughout a fashion industry and a star must produce and when ideas are RIPE they are copped from the streets-then repackaged to support the top down mythology. Why?

I think it goes back to a time when only the wealthy were educated and then they could use the public for menial labor and say things like "the lower classes, women, slaves, immigrants etc are so ignorant," which stroked their egos and kept competition limited to those who played by the rules they of course got to write! That changed with public education or did it? A good education was to get a good job....working to create even more wealth for those in power. Funny thing is they need us way more than we need them; which probably explains all the historical edits. Wow, you'd think after that much arrogance and face saving of a paradigm we would get over it and grow. It's hard to evolve, create dynamic change and listen to the voice of being when conditioned to fear loss...of face, position, status, power and all the other facades we humans have erected to live in denial of mortality.

So let's move along and ask all of life to the party. Let's see what we can learn and how very possible we can be; lets embrace the life we have and recognize the place we share in the whole: now that sounds like fun!

And fashion, fashion will evolve to embrace personal and sustainable ethos. Yeah I have faith in art, design, intellect and life -and all the other contributing elements of good style. I still love fashion, its just been transformed.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Can Can Tu Tu

This is wearable, though really uncomfortable! I hung it in the Art Guild tent during the Sustainable Ballard Festival Oct. 2006. I wonder how it would look wired, maybe call it the Lysistrata Chandelier!

The bodice is made from road kill cans, starting with the Schmidt's wolf that was too beautiful to leave on the pavement. The skirt is tulle with a little spray paint and intermittent beads. The note at the hem is in memory of Subculture Joe, a late, great, local artist- the dude who put the ball and chain on the Hammering Man.

Friday, April 27, 2007

fashion ethos...please

Hey it's only a shirt, but is it? It's also a process of many elements both physical and mental. It is an expression, a product and a choice. Yeah, it's also just a shirt!

I am a fashion devotee, a professional clothier, and a sustainability harpy that wants the world to know how much fun there is in designing with a re-purpose in mind. The clothes we wear impact social, environmental and economic issues. With this in mind we can choose to create personal styles that enhance who we really are and not some marketing professionals interpretation of who "we" are. We can recreate what fashion is and what style means and we will be able to look our children in the face instead of apologizing for all the damage left in our wake.