Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Restyling Designers

Events like SwapORamaRama are fantastic fun, and really make you think about not buying so many cheap new clothes just to throw them away.  But so many people do still, and there are more clothes waiting to be restyled than people to do it.  So if you simply don't have the time, or if you want your clothing to be sustainable but not too creative for corporate or formal, what can you do?

Some designers are developing business models that take cast-offs as their starting point and make clothes that would completely fail to raise eyebrows at Great Aunt Thelma's 60th birthday.

More importantly, they are findng ways to be profitable when they are competing with mass produced clothes that don't need to be individually crafted.

Some of the pioneers are English companies such as Junky Styling and Goodone.   In the US they have  Alabama Chanin.

These are well known companies, who have made it part of their mission to spread the word about recycling garments.   Junky Styling and Alabama Chanin have published craft books sharing their style with consumers-turned-creators.   Goodone has a consultancy and educational department.

However, there are lots of businesses whose goal is to make a living while not being tied to other people's agendas.  They don't need to make a big splash, because becoming successful at that sort of level creates responsibilities they don't want.  They are the type of business that gets overlooked by government bean counters, but their economic contribution is vital to their family and their community.  You can't buy shares in them, but because they are local, the money they make circulates and strengthens their local economy, and because they are small scale and personal, they are responsible about the decisions they make.  You can meet them face to face, and when they impress you with their product, you know it wasn't because a psychologist was paid a fortune to determine what impresses your demographic.  It's real.

So when I met Julie in fabric shop, I liked her.  Her business is Jewel Designer Alterations.  We swapped business cards, and admired each other's cute graphics.  At first I thought she just hemmed and fitted.  Heck, I used to work at an alterations place, and that's what we did.  But a visit to her website certainly put me straight.  She does complete restyles of wedding and ball dresses and she's good!
So, I'm going to share some pictures.


 A plain neckline has been ornamented with Swarovski diamantes and bronze crystals.

This dress was very simple, with a plain skirt, until Julie added texture with ruching and appliques
Lace, beading and tulle added to a plain gown.

 Makes me want to get married all over again ;-)

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