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 appliqu├ęs -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.