Recycling gets high-style makeover
There was 13 million tons of textile waste in the United States in 2010, according to a study by the Environmental Protection Agency.
And only 15 percent was reused or recycled.
“Maybe if people know that, they might be shocked to hear that,” says Anya Weitzman, an eco-friendly designer. “And it also might encourage them to take a second look at something they might be throwing away, and they might re-use it.”
That's what Weitzman does. She creates clothing and accessories from recycled materials. The blogger and stylist of sharesomestyle.com is one of the designers participating in the “Lost and Found: Sustainable High Fashion” exhibition at Sweetwater Center for the Arts in Sewickley.
The exhibit — kicking off May 4 — will showcase regional fashion designers as they discover the potential of reclaimed material. Becoming eco-friendly and living a sustainable lifestyle is the growing trend of the century, says Elysia Cecchetti, artistic director at Sweetwater. This exhibition features contemporary fashions created with repurposed and upcycled elements. Artists inject renewed life into recycled materials to defy traditional means of fashion, she says.
Sweetwater will host an informal modeling session during the opening reception. Informal modeling is a type of fashion display where the designer or model personally showcases the artwork the night of the exhibition. The artist and/or model will have the option to be a still model and pose on a pedestal (freeze modeling) or mingle with guests while showcasing the designs and answering any questions.
Of 20 submissions, 13 were chosen for the exhibition, juried by LaMont Jones.
“We received an interesting mix of items,” Cecchetti says. “It will be a well-rounded exhibition.”
She hopes to grow the event to where she could publicize it to attract both local and national artists.
“It will give a different perspective on a fashion show,” Cecchetti says. “And since we are an art studio, we like the vision and performance aspect of this event.”
Designer Lana Neumeyer of O'Hara says it should be a spectacular evening. She will be showing items created from her burlap couture collection.
“People think that burlap is not a material that's wearable, but it is,” say Neumeyer. “There are lots of sustainable fibers like burlap that are fun to wear. It is something different.”
One of her pieces is a dress made out of a burlap coffee-bean bag from her native Brazil.
“I love that this is not a traditional fashion show,” Neumeyer says. “I love this type of show where you can be up close with the models and can touch the clothing.”
Recycled fashion is incredibly important, says Weitzman, a Nashville native, who lives in Garfield. Having the show in an art gallery is a perfect match.
“Fashion is very much art,” Weitzman says. “Fashion has an important cultural history, just like art has an important cultural history. Fashion and art can tell us a lot about ourselves.”
Weitzman views fashion as accessible public art because you wear it. There is fashion everywhere from couture to sportswear.
“Steelers jerseys are fashion,” Weitzman says. “Fashion doesn't have to be high-fashion. What you wear is your fashion.”
Her collection includes four blouses created from scarves and remnant fabrics and jewelry created from scraps of bronze and repurposed leather.
Weitzman enjoys creating items that look streamlined and that don't appear to be made from recycled materials.
“Recycled fashion can be wearable, and it doesn't have to look trashy,” says Weitzman. “My hope is to get out that message. And that when people see my work, they will think it is cool. And that they might think they can do this with some of their old clothes or other items that are lying around. I am so excited to be part of this event and to meet people and talk about fashion.”
As is Kari Zuzack of Slippery Rock. She designed a one-shoulder top made from a coffee-bean bag and nails and a skirt created from a curtain. Her necklace is made of a deconstructed lighting fixture and a tea-light holder. The belt is also part of a lighting fixture.
“I am inspired by the contrast of light versus dark,” says Zuzack, who credits her parents with encouraging her and her siblings to be creative from a young age. “My original plan was to have actual working lights, but it morphed into something else.”
She says people are quick to throw things away and just buy new but there are plenty of items you can reuse.
“If anything, take time to think about it before you toss it,” says Zuzack, who because interested in the fun aspect of eco-friendly designs from making her own Halloween costumes. “This show will be good because the artists and designers will be able to interact with each other and with the guests. People can see what we do and get a closer look at the fashion. And we might inspire others to be resourceful like we are when it comes to creating such fashion.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7889.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Variations in women’s clothing sizes cause frustration
- Custom Choo’s can be yours to choose
- Fashion FYI: Rebecca Schoneveld trunk show set at Glitter & Grit in Lawrenceville
- The history behind women’s sizing ‘standards’
- Fashion FYI: Nicole Miller to unveil 10th-anniversary fashion collection
- 5 summer jackets that will weather transition to fall
- Flashy sneakers are stepping into offices across the country