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Old materials re-purposed into new clothing

From garbage to garments

August 5, 2011
By JOHANNA BOYLE ( , Journal Ishpeming Bureau

MARQUETTE - You wouldn't expect to see old denim, men's shirts and a shower curtain on a fashion show runway, but those were the items that made up the second annual (Re)Fashion Show and Open Design Contest Thursday at the Marquette Regional History Center.

The fashion show, organized by Garden Bouquet and Design and the center, featured four designers, each of whom constructed new clothing items using upcycled - reused - fabrics.

"I think what happens most with this show is it inspires audience members to go home and think about how to upcycle clothes," said Lanni Lantto, one of the show's designers.

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Models walked the runway in everything from casual wear to evening gowns, each made from a fabric that was no longer needed for its intended purpose.

"We've got table runners, a parachute, scarves and about 20 disassembled pieces of clothing," Lantto said of the fabrics she used to create her collection of formal gowns.

Kicking off the show were designs by Paulette Carr, who designs children's clothing made from second hand clothes.

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A re-fashion show resembles a typical fashion show except for one thing — no new waste. Clothing shown at the second annual (Re)Fashion Show at the Marquette Regional History Center on Thursday was all made from used and discarded materials, from curtains to old clothing. Two young models show designs by Paulette Carr, made from denim and material that was once mens’ pants and shirts. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)

"I take T-shirts, denim, linen, whatever I find that has enough material," Carr said.

First inspired to reuse clothes for her seven grandchildren, Carr said she began by remaking hand-me-downs from the older kids into new clothes for the younger ones. Now she goes to everything from garage sales to thrift stores, turning logos upsidedown and remaking items into skirts, jackets and other clothing.

"The fashion show is a blast," Carr said.

Also featured in the show were designers Joann Shelby, who showed a mix of children's and women's clothing, including a burgundy formal gown that used to be a shower curtain; and Alexandra Kralova, who designs clothing that can be worn in multiple ways.

"This is all about having a green community and a green business ethic, because we all win with that," said Kim Smith, owner of Garden Bouquet and Design.

Last year the show was held at the Garden Bouquet and Design shop, but drew such a crowd that a larger venue was found this year.

Upcycle designers create clothing that does not create any new waste, using clothing and material that might otherwise end up in a landfill.

Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401.



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