Mary

  

It all started when...

I had more clothes than I knew what to do with and nothing to wear. People were always giving me hand-me-downs and it wasn't enough that they fit me or seemed like new. They needed to be a style I could embrace. I made one blouse out of many, and altered pants by adding racing stripes to the pant legs to make them a bigger, bell shaped, or the opposite, a tapered pant leg. Sometimes I added another waistband above the one already there to make them high waisted or cut it off and frayed the raw edge.

My friends hired me to update their whole closet. We added darts to blouses, hemmed, removed sleeves, made skirts n tops out of long dresses, jumpsuits out of blending suits, generally cut, distressed and patched everything. I would take away the rest to donate or use in my creative endeavors.

A first favorite was making the perfect tote bag that I still make today. It can stand up on its own with a few strategic pockets, one snap and big enough to drop a lap top in. (These are made in batches that sell out quickly, and not thought of as a purse, a carry all)  

Working my whole adult life in the fashion industry as a Patternmaker for iconic fashion brands I had access to tons of fabric and notions being thrown away. Sometimes I couldn't bare to see the goods go to waste, so I would dumpster dive and end up with amazing finds for what I liked to make.

I always add pockets to everything, not being one to carry a purse. Then I was making well-made clothing with many functional pockets, but flattering at the same time because as a patternmaker I know how to make clothing fit and tailored. 

The well-made vests, skirts, and dresses were perfect for a busy schedule of running around with kids, and still presentable for an Art opening, a play, volunteering or a last minute dinner date.

If I came across a garment that seemed fine as is, it was donated to the Goodwill but never did I buy anything from there. We all have so much that I only used what my family grew out of or my friends dropped off on our front porch, rejected for whatever reason. 

Eventually I started making clothing to sell. The creativity afforded by the deconstruction movement led me to become a Artwear Artist. My work made its way into exhibits while I sold my wares at artisinal craft shows. I became an expert on recycled fashion and was asked to judge contests and the like. 

Always being enterprising, the scraps from cutting things up were used for collaged pillows, table runners , and slip covers. Hence, the Home Goods were born. I like to think of these as the Bowl (the vessel, the home) in Salad Bowl Dress. 

I became a clothing Patternmaker by profession. And now I am tossing clothes in the air letting them land somewhere in a mashup of function and fit as a Designer. It harks back to a lifelong desire for a cleaner environment, it is sustainable by keeping clothes out of the landfill. While we are at it the other next best thing we can do in our own backyards is compost to cut down on waste and enrich the soil at the same time. 

Finally, I see making and refurbishing our wardrobe as a better way to express ourselves rather than buying the corporate version. It is a more custom, original way to see your style in a new light.

-Mary Colmar 

 Salad Bowl Dress Peeps

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Participation in artisinal craft fairs:                            

The Melrose Trading Post

The Great Park Farmers Market

Claremont Farmers and Artisinal Markets

La Verne Fresh Farmers Markets

   The Muckenthaler craft fairs

Scripps College Holiday Boutiques

Coastline Community College artisinal craft fairs

Long Beach Green Long Beach Fashion Show and Fair

The Mercado-csuf

Mission Viejo Imagination Days

San Juan Capistrano Art Fair Saturdays

The Fullerton College Craft Fair

The Ocean Charter School craft fairs

The Brea Nutcracker Suite craft fairs

Etsy LA emporium

Stores: Mageco, the DA museum gift store, CAFAM museum store in LA, Olive’s Very Vintage in Brooklyn, NY