on the topic of fashion…

last night, several members of the new orleans craft mafia (and myself) trekked out to metairie – almost kenner, really – to east jeff’s massive public library (have you ever been there? the place is impressive.) to offer a free t-shirt recycling workshop. the library there is doing some great programming and had invited us to do our always-popular demo for the suburban crowd.

though it wasn’t a huge turnout, those who did come were really interested in getting some ideas on what to do with their old t-shirts. in the past, all of the times we’ve done this demo, we’ve had pretty enormous crowds; thus we’ve streamlined it to usually only offer 2-3 basic concepts of what to do with an old shirt, like a tote bag or a halter top or a hat. simple things that require little sewing, so we can move the crowds through quickly and not get bogged down in the details. but these ladies who showed up last night were not satisfied with those basic ideas and wanted more! most of them were competent sewers (usually those who come to these workshops are not), and were looking for more complex projects. me not being a sewer or clothing maker, well, i had no idea what to tell them. i felt fairly useless. but thank god three of the five of us from the mafia who were there actually are clothing designers, so they were able to improvise and come up with all kinds of things to show the women to make. from various scarf ideas to shrugs and skirts, those in attendance came away with several recycled garments and accessories. one woman even made herself a great fringe top that she planned to go home and add beads to!

afterwards, we celebrated the success of the evening with dinner and drinks at where else but applebees. (when in the suburbs, do as the suburbans do!) i don’t think i’ve eaten at an applebees since i was in high school, but they do serve a mean bacon cheeseburger and pour a lovely pint of blue moon on draft. seemed the right choice for the evening we’d had and it was delightful to spend time with mallory, kerry, rebekah and harla.

one thing that came up in conversation was this: did you know that new orleans is having not just one but TWO fashion weeks this spring? i’ve heard of fashion week in new york – i watch project runway like everybody else – but i guess i was unaware that new orleans actually had a fashion week. i knew there were various recycled fashion shows that happen at different times of year, as many in the mafia have participated in the past. but i really didn’t know that there was the coordinated effort to present not even just one but two fashion week events, in back to back weeks in march, to put the spotlight on local fashion designers and the new orleans fashion scene. (we have a fashion scene?)

so interesting. and kinda cool.

not that i’m really all that personally into fashion, obviously. i design t-shirts, yes, and have been known to silkscreen and stencil on various other items of apparel over the years. but that’s about it. i don’t sew, despite growing up with a mother who was a very accomplished seamstress. (she died when i was 10 so i was too young to have learned much from her.) and, well, honestly, growing up a tomboy and coming into my butch-of-center dykeness, i rejected so-called “girlie” crafts like sewing and making clothes like my mom did as a kid and teen. i realize that was silly now, and i regret it, but also feel not terribly motivated at my age to learn. it’s just not what i’m drawn to, though i’m fairly fascinated with the process as a creative endeavor and like watching other people do it.

nonetheless, i’ll be interested to see how these two (competing? don’t know the backstory) fashion week events play out, and if they get much media coverage beyond the fashion underground, if such a thing even exists. we shall see.

if all this piques your interest, one of the upcoming fashion week groups is having a preview party tomorrow night to get folks excited about the march events. if you go, tell me about it!