Handmade Hodgepodge Tile Backsplash

Handmade Hodgepodge Tile Backsplash

One of my friends has a very cute house that she is always fixing up. But with the pandemic, it was hard to justify doing some projects while it was ok to try other projects. Since Home Depot was always open throughout considered an essential business she thought it would be a good time to do something about the old wallpaper behind her counters. Going this way and that over what she should do? Paint, buy boring backsplash, or hang new wallpaper. Well since she is my friend I assumed she saw my backsplash and just discounted making her own. But I suggested she should make one since she is very crafty and she could make it super custom to her house decor. She loved the idea So here goes the story and the how-to of making your own backsplash.


Here is how we did it.

Kay and Heather Making Tile Backsplash

Kay and Heather breaking up tile.


A holiday weekend with family usually means family art days. Either making art or going to museums, galleries, lobbies, sculpture gardens, and private collections. It also means going to movies, seeing photo slide shows, talking about the latest video, podcast, comedian, TV show, and then discussing the periodicals, blogs, and of course it is always better to be reading a good book worth talking about.

This past Thanksgiving weekend lasted until Monday, and it’s Tuesday, and no wonder my little family is tired. It was a lot of fun.

Making art was on the agenda. The best thing was getting my mother off the hook to do collage at her house, to instead, as a stroke of genius, help her by coming up with one of about fifty projects I have /had ready for the willing nieces, kids, sister, brother-in-law, and mother to work on.

We tiled. I had the luan boards already precut to the correct size for new backsplashes in my kitchen and some extras pieces for people to take home, or if willing, make for my bathrooms? 

My mother had some old dishes, and I just ended up using those funky “state” plates sitting in an unused cupboard. Breaking the dishes proved a perfect job for my helpful brother-in-law.

We were all novices, but no slouches to creativity. Everyone went to work like it was a race and everyone finished theirs and helped the others until they were all done. Any crazy suggestions like gluing a serving dish to one were welcomed with the agreement it would work.

It went over well for me because I trust the artistic license of my family, ever tasteful and ingenious. We had a great time. But the pressure is on to do the next step of the grout. Christmas can’t come soon enough!

So you would think maybe people would help then with grout, but no way. I am expected to be so all over the tile project, have it hanging, and beautiful. Because a decorated home is the only reason to entertain or is it entertaining is the only reason to clean? And decorate?


It took a few months but we finally got the tile done and installed in the kitchen! In case you haven’t read about the family tile project, I put my family to work making back-splashes for our kitchen and/or bathroom. Since there were a lot of us, and I didn’t want anything permanent in my house, we built them on luan specially cut to order at Home Depot.  We all thought, maybe, there might be an extra one to give away, but some of the glue we used was not the right kind. I recommend only using tile glue AcrylPro 1 Qt. Ceramic Tile Adhesive, which is really easy to use and a quart will go a long way. You can spread it on first, then add the pieces or glue each one separately. So I single-handed re-glued the biggest piece for over the stove and the other two were fine. Another two pieces just fell apart though.


We cut a 5’ long piece above the sink.

Gluing Down the Tile

Fay making her backsplash. The Tile Party!


All glued down.


Mixing the Grout.


Wipe off with a big sponge.


Since this was my very first time tiling I wasn’t sure how to apply the grout. I ended up using a bag I bought from the Restore for around a dollar. It comes in many forms and colors. Really you just have to experiment. I love how the white grainy one I chose turned out!

Something came over me while I was getting ready to install the tile. I decided to make an easy island in the kitchen, paint one kitchen wall with blackboard paint and paint the counters with counter-top paint.

Routines Evade Me!

Routines Evade Me!

Routines evade me. I love the inventiveness of the moment.

I love my cardboard box my cool Canon eosM50 camera came in! It is the perfect box height for most of my laptop work when I am sitting on a couch.  The high table in my workspace is also not quite high enough for standing with my laptop but I put my “printer raiser” on the table and then the cool box from my camera on top of that. The box is not too heavy, the right amount of black on one side (yay) no distractions from advertising on the other five sides. 

We all know you shouldn’t throw away the box your electronics come in for at least three months or ever? So I had it laying around advertising to the studio world I got a new camera, but now it is with me at all times for being the best computer holder stand. Maybe it’s not the best for my carpal tunnel but I love how it handles. I mean it is flexible on my lap when I am reclining which is how I start out every single day. 

Is it really? 

Routines evade me. Why am I so resistant to routine? I love the inventiveness of the moment.

My husband used to say such and such is always that way on Tuesdays or I can sleep in on Sundays. But I hardly knew the difference between certain days they all seemed a little chaotic. Maybe a little more routine could prevent that feeling?

Hence, I wanted an easy dinner on Fridays and would often wish for pizza. But people like my husband do not see the same type of routines that I do. He would say we always go to bed early on Mondays. 

I would see the first of the month as bill paying day or life check on the finances. I thought of Saturdays as cleaning days but instead usually did it on Thursday or Friday tempting my children with a work-free weekend if they helped out. 

I do have my minimal routines to be sure. I think taking medications teaches that, having a job with regular work hours, having kids, a spouse who wants to go out on dates, see family regularly. 

Old parents, one must call at least once a week, daily chores before the crack of dawn are who I have become. As a young parent breastfeeding was a regular thing but not a routine.

Now I must post something, make something, a tall order although I do it every day. I can not wait to do one or the other. But now I have gotten even better at planning those in advance. I use apps like Tailwind and many others to help in all those endeavors.

On top of those seeming obligations, there is always the thing that comes up, an old friend who calls that takes up valuable time you wouldn’t trade for anything.

Lovemaking evolves into the unexpected for a long time.

The kid who wants to spend the day with you.

The shopping and planning always for the “unexpected” fun get together.

The busy neighbor who drops in to say Hello or drop something off and stays for a while.

The other friend always goes straight to the backyard to tend something in the garden until you come out to greet him. 

The dog we take care of during the week being dropped off or picked up, but we never know exactly when? 

The endless cleaning, researching, reading, fixing, sprucing, and writing is what I do but is it a routine?


Fashion and Climate Change

Fashion and Climate Change

Combatting “Greenwashing” with Transparency

Fashion and Climate change couldn’t be a more timely subject. Click on the letters below to see the presentation I gave for Sustainable Living. Many of the links in this piece are available on the slideshow.

-Slide show for Fashion and Climate Change by Mary Colmar-

The fashion industry was poised before the pandemic to make some changes. Away from producing so much fast fashion product while making less of a carbon footprint. 

But after the impact of the global pandemic happened on the economy, the role of the fashion industry in the destruction of the environment and the economy became a blaring reminder that the fragmented industry has to change as a whole. The industry has to work together, from manufacturing to changing the culture of fashion’s expectations in our society around the world to help in the prevention of global destruction as a key participant.

At the moment large corporations are working together by producing fewer goods, less fast fashion, and regular seasons and even down to two a year following the example of Gucci. 

Another key component is to manufacture closer to where the product is being sold. Trying to lessen the carbon footprint it intends to ship less and to produce more in the country where the goods sell. A goal easier said than done as the Western Hemisphere has not invested in the technology necessary to make a yarn out of hemp(being grown on old tobacco farms) for example and so much more necessary in the manufacturing of goods along with all sectors, excluding Europe who invested in the technology needed for manufacturing. 

[There are problems in the Americas in manufacturing, they do not have the technology that can spin a yarn literally from hemp again, which is very popular in the USA and being grown by ex tobacco farmers. The hemp is grown in the US, shipped to Asia as the sophisticated making of the yarn is made into yarn and/or fabric and possibly shipped again and sewn somewhere in the Americas?] 

Especially in the USA, it is a big problem because our minimal clothing manufacturing has not invested in middle management, education, or development and we do not pay our middle management workers enough. We are years behind in the technology needed to manufacture and PLM that Asia and Europe are equipped to do. 

The US are also the people most addicted to fast fashion and yes it is an addiction. These consumers need the education to care about sustainable fashion. Fashion that is less disposable and has more desirability, possibly buy something that has a lasting power of five years or more. Hopefully bringing back the ideal clothing concept becoming treasured again. At one time clothing was handed down through generations. It was made with quality and appreciated for craftsmanship. 

A big movement developing is wearing second hand, as a statement, for individuality, and an easy solution to utilize the plentiful pickings. 

Second-hand clothing has become popular, nothing to scoff at, but at a different level by Department Stores like Nordstrom and the inexpensive furniture store Ikea. 

A place to bring your clothes you no longer want or furniture that was crap in the first place. (on a side note Ikea is working on a way to make their cheap furniture recycled.)

The movement to improve manufacturing with less waste and better design is spreading across the globe with all products from food to fashion. There is an interconnectedness for all of us to participate. Not for profit but for humanity or quality of life for everyone. We are all the 1% not financially but in our individuality. We each can offer our knowledge and ingenuity to our clothing, our lifestyle in the way we eat and where we get our food to how we move around on the planet. 

Groups such as Fashion Makes Change (FMC) is the fashion industry’s new solution that delivers women’s empowerment and climate action in tandem. With a mission to build a community between brands, non-profits, consumers, and supporting industries to responsibly drive action on key social and environmental impacts of fashion, the organization acts as a transformational ecosystem. Fashion Makes Change’s powerful coalition supports the diverse women who work within the apparel supply chain, reimagining how collaboration affects change.

“The truth is that the old way of doing things is not solving the problems. Incremental change isn’t good enough. We are moving too slowly,” said Cara Smyth, Chair of Fashion Makes Change. “Education is the great equalizer. In particular, investing in women builds resilient communities. Catalytic ecosystems that foster profound collaboration are powering the next generation of sustainability and are the only sensible path forward. We have a finite number of days before irreversible global warming. Fashion – and the world – are racing against the clock.”

Fashion Makes Change, a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, answers the call by the United Nations Secretary-General to advance progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and looks to all sectors of society in the next ten years to mobilize action locally and globally, to generate a movement to meet this decade of action. Fashion Makes Change strives to build communities of changemakers that will help advance progress on key development goals and ultimately efforts designed to create a more equitable and responsible apparel industry. Fashion Makes Change will initially look to targets aligned with SDG 3, Good health and well-being, SDG 4 Quality Education, SDG 5 on Gender Equality, and SDG 8 which addresses Decent Work and Economic Growth.


One of the key organizations that Fashion Makes Change will support is the [email protected] Collaborative, a joint effort of United Nations’ ILO-IFC Better Work, BSR’s HERproject, CARE International, and Gap Inc.’s P.A.C.E program, that works to leverage knowledge, skills, and networks to drive collective action for the benefit of women workers and gender equity in global supply chains.


Brands and retailers throughout the industry are mobilizing to educate women in the global supply chain at scale by 2030. This comes as the industry’s CEOs and their teams work collectively to demonstrate fashion as a powerful force for good in the world. Consumers increasingly want to drive positive impact and are motivated when they have a voice in using their purchasing power to support the actions brands are taking. Individual and collective efforts in the community are required to tackle the systemic challenges facing our society.

The first activation will launch on March 8th, International Women’s Day, with a program that engages consumers to round up or donate via a global network of retail and fashion brands. The proceeds will be dedicated to educating and empowering women in the supply chain via [email protected]

Funds collected will be deployed through Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a nonprofit organization that helps donors create thoughtful, effective philanthropy around the world through research, advisory, management, and project incubation.

This unprecedented collaboration among brands, customers, and non-profits will amplify, scale, and accelerate a global shift towards meaningful change.

The program has support from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Avery Dennison, PR Consulting, and the Accessories Council.

Furthermore, second hand, unique, want it to be the first option. Young people are removing some of the stigmas of used clothing as they are often, customized, embellished, and upcycled.

Depop has a customer base of a 23million and 93 percent are under 26. A company that is expanding access to used clothing. One of many. It is a bigger umbrella. Usually unique, no one else will usually have the same item.

Different Forums:


Sustainable Fashion Forum 

State of Fashion- BofF.com

EcoFashion.com online magazine


More groups: 


[email protected]

Another movement is to reuse clothing rather than see it go into the trash or shipped all over the world looking for a home as the rag quality that they are.

There is no silver bullet. As a manufacturer, someone who has had a clothing line for eight years. I found a gem in the clothing that was spilling out of our closets and sold by the pound at GoodWills.

With my background in production as a patternmaker and technical designer, I found many uses and opportunities for ways to scale up these clothes. Other companies that have scaled up doing similar work are:


Atelier and Repair.

Gregory Lauren


One resource for this article is from unitedfashion.com ‘Fashion Makes Change,’ Change Fashion? The new brand-led community promises solutions for the “equalizing” status of garment workers while tackling the climate crisis with collaboration. By Kaley Roshitsh on November 17, 2020


More Pressing Matters

More Pressing Matters

It has been over a year since I moved out of the living room into the new studio. Although we didn’t get a chance to have a big opening party in the new digs. Honestly too, at first, it was such a mess to move and there was so much to do last Fall that I thought the opening should be at the beginning of the year. 


It’s the best studio for my business and situation, not wanting to overextend myself I have to keep it within reason until we grow beyond the immediate square foot space. Did I mention how close to home it is? Less than one mile alongside streets perfect for riding my bike there (wearing a bicycle vest of course) or I can walk. Someone said to me recently “But you never do?” Wrong. I ride my bike a lot and walk often but as with going anywhere I often have ****loads of stuff to carry, more than I can carry on a bike or in a backpack.


The workspace is on the ground floor with the ability to move rolling racks in and out without any steps which are almost worth its weight in gold alone. There are two rooms, a separate room for photo/video shoots with a big green screen besides all social media planning and posting. I do have the automation setup. First I usually have Fiverr finish the copy on many of the posts, I’ll edit visuals with Canva, and schedule with Tailwind on my Pinterest account. 


This year we staged many zoom calls and conferences there too. We do not keep anything valuable there because we carry our little equipment back and forth. On a side note my son has discovered the joy of the studio making videos there in the evenings. 


But all that was slow going as I had to help my mother while the pandemic was looming. Instead of making masks that everyone was looking at us to make. The tides were turning.


More pressing matters, a pun I love because I always have pressing going on! But in this case, my mother had some urgency to sell her house and put the wheels in motion between x-mas and New Years’! 


I knew she needed my help which would eclipse anything I had going on. My business had been in the slumps before, actually kind of always ebbing and flowing. So I put my excellent daughter’s face on and we got to the business of selling our family home. Not an easy task really, it had been the home of my mother and stepfather for forty plus years and had the memorabilia of ten kids, tons of grandkids, and a few great-grandkids to put in respective boxes. 


My mother is an artist and had a studio in the garage and in a room in the house full of all the shows she had exhibited, priceless artwork, and measurable career documents of noteworthiness that needed cataloging. I was amazed at all the work she has done with documentation just strewn about in two five-foot file drawers and stuffed everywhere else. So with the help of about twenty bankers boxes, I got to work. Putting her artwork photos in one box and friends of the art scene in another, work-related exhibits, commissions, and lectures she has given went in another. 


Fortunately, I live for times like these in the organizational world. With my mom, not my own house I could be slightly more objective and discern the trash from the keep important papers, photos, and writings. I separated other photos with bankers’ boxes at the ready. Our one side of the family broken down into individuals, and the other side of the family broken down into three boxes, one of the framed photos, unframed, and their dad’s memorabilia. 


Of course, I had scores of boxes and sorting stations in the garage where everything would end up and be the last room to clean up. 


In the house, I had a humongous donate pile by the back sliding glass doors for any and all stuff. And I had black trash bags throughout the house for trash. Some black bags in one room for the stuff she absolutely wanted to keep. No one was to move the bags around until they had my directions. Which implies I had help. The kind of help where my mother would want to “clean” up and start moving stuff around or the well-meaning friend who thought they would take the trash out. Even though I had masking tape labels on most bags we did not want to confuse where they were by mixing them up. 


This was about the time Covid hit and the donation centers were not accepting anything. Our pile grew as we gifted neighbors with thoughtful choccies for being there for us, and we called friends to come over to take whatever they wanted, asked the handyman to take any and all, then we finally saw a junk collector drive by and flagged him down to take it all but no we still had a lot to carry to the alley in the hopes somebody would walk by and take boxes of greeting cards, more plastic dishes and plates that never ended. 


The one black bag filled to the brim of plastic stuff spilled over into another black bag. Well, I know my mother and she loves plastic. She once had a “formal” dinner for my in-laws all in the plastic of every kind for all the types of “glasses” needed, serving dishes and plates, napkin ring holders, and homemade plastic flowers made from old Clorox bottles. It was pretty cool and why we didn’t always take pictures of every table she ever set I don’t know. We have a lot of the time, but not that one. My mother cares more about ambiance and decor than how good the food tastes. The plastic was hardly ever the throw-away kind, it was washable. 


That one setting was her response to a dinner she had at my in-laws who have beautiful dishes and glassware. My mother joked she was going to get lead poisoning from the glasses. Who knows what chemical poisoning we get from all the plastics? 


So it was important to sort all the plastic out from a huge pile on the floor. Most of it I just gave away. She may have kept one tray. 


We only had about a month, and I canceled a few of my events before we were going to list the house. While also planning a big event of hers. A ninetieth birthday party and art sale all on one weekend in February. We spent around a thousand dollars to mount all the artwork, buy scones and champagne for two days of an open house, signs, and some platters of sandwiches, and pizzas for the family who were going to be in town. The pizza and champagne were her ideas of the perfect spread. We ended up selling about three thousand worth of work at firesale prices and only had a few leftovers. Plus a nice sampling of friends and family showed up. She gave each kid one of their picks of artwork. Still, she had a lot of work to get rid of because it had nowhere else to go.  


We eventually did get a storage unit for said boxes and artwork. My husband put a lot of his artwork in the unit, and our transient kids put a lot of their stuff in as well. The expense and rationale for a storage unit. Worth the cost? 


We avoided getting a storage unit for so long, most all our lives trying to keep the crap down instead, but getting a unit changed everything for the better and freed up so much space without the regret of losing something important. 


It helped us stage the house easily. We only had some bare essentials and artwork hanging which made the house very chic and huge. We removed everything practically. Only my mother was living there and she knew she was extremely downsizing so we took advantage of the fact and made the house seem functional and modern because nothing was there. 


The garden windows had three vases each instead of seventeen. There were seven paintings on the wall instead of twenty. The pillows were only a few, and you get the idea. No personal photos. Only one set of dishes in the kitchen cabinet. One set of towels. One set of sheets. The closet had only a few clothes instead of bursting at the seams. 


The window treatments were brand new and in neutral gray shades. We kept the dining room table permanently set. All daily clutter we put in one box in a lower kitchen cabinet. That is how my mother had to live through a few weekends in February after her birthday/sale party and few real estate open houses.


It was a success, selling for the asking price on the first day, and not bothering with any other offers. My mother moved to independent living on March 15 with so many restrictions on how we had to move her in. We couldn’t go up to the apartment and help her arrange anything. But they managed to hang all her art and set everything up (without me). Although the pandemic made us nervous the house closed on March 31.


Each Piece Deserves a Story

Each Piece Deserves a Story

I’m constantly thrown into my past, thinking about the foundation of Salad Bowl Dress, and building a business while parenting. I have three kids, now all young adults who still need help and parenting, but when I was starting my business again they were all little and needing so much more attention. I’m very passionate about the importance of early childcare — invite me to a dinner party and hear me talk on and on about the absurdity of maternal leave being called disability, the joke that parents only have 12 weeks to bond and nurture their new children before being forced back into work, and the insanity our society making childcare inaccessible or too expensive for working parents. I mean, it is hard to care for little ones no matter how you cut it, but we’re making it especially difficult!

One documentary called No Small Matter illustrates the harm of not spending enough time with our children. Not only to the child, but the harm it has on the greater good for society.

Being encompassed in this world of work and children was one of the huge driving forces I had designing and building my garments. I try, in so many ways, to give each piece a story. In my mind, I consider them a mom (or dad) garment first, then teacher, gardener, and ultimately creator. Each aspect of every piece carries with it thought, and intention.

Each piece deserves a story, a film, an explanation of why the particular transformation was right. The clothes deserve their own photoshoot, to be worn and seen.

I work on finding the right garment for each person who crosses my path, and have developed somewhat of a knack for finding what someone was looking for. But I’m still growing and so is the world and space around me. Sometimes, it’s true, I didn’t have the right piece for the right person, but this is one way how I think and create the future lines of SBD.

Fitting people with the right garment leads naturally into more photos being taken, and more stories to be told. Online, people browse through clothing with no personality, no content, no story, but people might try on a vest and take photos with different angles, could see how it looks through their own eyes.

People want to see that, they want something that can be an extension of themselves. It is part of the process of buying one of our pieces, and it is always the process that one usually finds enjoyable and unique.

I often work with my own experiences, inspiring the bulk of my collection to be sturdy and pocket-filled. But I love listening, learning, and discovery. I love making clothes with a purpose, and I love contributing to people’s lives and individual stories. I’m working to create these pieces for people who are looking to grow and create.

So here we go, please enjoy yourself and ride on this rollercoaster of living through this blog.

Why Write a Blog?

Why Write a Blog?

Why Write a Blog?

Of course, I had to make money the artist/mom way all these years, not the business way. 

I made one-off goods to sell. Many customers became my friends and owned multiple garments, then COVID hit. 

This year may have been my biggest year yet. I finally had my own studio again after ten years of intermittently working from home. 

I have the product, a few employees, person to person sales, wonderful Farmer’s Market venues and Artisan venues, fashion show recognition, although not any editorials simply for the lack of trying. 

I was going to make some press kits this year. Some line plans, and showroom sales. 

All of that was on a need-to basis, and quite frankly a waste of time, when I was designing, cutting, patterning, and sewing all my work. Everything was going along smoothly until I had the time to grow. 

In addition, I had some decor making ideas, besides a small sideline of organizing one’s house/closet which came naturally since I was collecting unwanted clothing. 

Having lived in NYC for twenty years I became good at home spatial planning and studied the art of organizing while trying to figure out what to do with all the stuff in cramped spaces. 

For fifteen of those years, living with an artist husband and then three kids all making artwork, in a loft in Red Hook Brooklyn. But now I am in the middle of a global pandemic realizing all the skills I’ve learned my whole life and all the interests had are all coming together in this moment of blogging and sharing on social media. 

Thinking this was also my time to make content videos on YouTube since I was a Communications(emphasis on radio, television, and film) graduate years ago, it still loomed in the background, thinking this was also my time to make content videos for YouTube always being interested in documentary film.  

Then covid hit, and in a way, I thought I could do all the things I wanted since I already had the design studio and the money I was planning to use to grow the fashion business was just going to have to help me pivot in an all-encompassing way to being a content creator. One that makes stuff for all media. 

Stuff being loosely defined, in my case as already having real stuff which is called Evergreen content ready for explanation or storytelling. How did I create these stuff / original designs and why, what inspired the one-offs I have been making for years. 

Then why did I make all the fun funky things for my house I saw in a now-defunct magazine called Ready Made and from a website called Ikea Hacks not to mention the Instructables site. This was all stuff I had made and would now be considered Evergreen content. 

Although at the beginning of this pandemic I was completely occupied by a serious turn of events of having to stage our family home, sell said home, and place my mother in a new home and rid her of all her belongings just as things were closing down. Something of a similar phenomenon was going on with my inlaws. At just this time their age had been catching up with them and it was time they all had to move to an independent living environment. 

Things really worked out with them as they all moved out of their respective homes and into full-time care facilities. The home I staged had closed by March 31 thankfully as people were in full lockdown. As a fashion business not only was I not allowed in my studio building there was time for helping my parents which were fortunate. Then after the first wave of wondering what to do, knowing making masks were what was expected I finally got started on making them deemed an essential worker, but I had to sew everything myself because my one employee was needed at her home. 

It was after sewing hundreds of masks, and selling and donating about half, I took a class that kind of changed my life. 

An online course of all things. You have heard it all before and in my case, it was the right thing at the right time. It validated that essentially I was a content creator but did not know how to go about making money doing everything that I loved. The class was from Melissa Griffen who I had met at a conference in Las Vegas. So she kind of knew me.

The validation propelled me to where I am today six months later with a new blog and validation that all the work I have done all these years trying to get the big sales or wondering why I kept going other than that I loved making it all, became a vast bank of useable Evergreen content, for my posts, pins, and videos. 

Yeah, I am a content creator who has consistently posted a blog weekly for almost three months now. Not counting the years of Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, and Pinterest posts sharing my work over the years. 

Furthermore, having the most followers on my Linkedin account for really not doing anything but someone everyone always wants to have in their arsenal of skilled workers, a patternmaker/technical designer.

This new job is in high demand and helps work out any problems with where I am going in my career as someone in high demand. 

But why didn’t I do this sooner? I started and stopped blogging many times. Consistency is key with blogging and as a side hustle, there is only so much time one has as a mother and a Worker is what I called my title sometimes.

Sustainable Fashion/What Am I Doing?

Sustainable Fashion/What Am I Doing?



We are writing new blogs weekly to share information about SaladBowlDress.com and its role in the changing fashion landscape.

Sustainable fashion is at the forefront of enlisting customers towards a more ethical shopping style. shopping in their closet or finding brands with a commitment to do better in saving the planet. 

What should you be looking for in a sustainable wardrobe going forward?

Brands that are transparent in how they do business.

We would like to guide you in some of your choices as we become aware of companies that are doing the right thing, for all of us, going forward.

There is a myriad of issues to address. Consumption in our industry is the biggest cause of global warming.

There are many different approaches to enlisting good trade practices. Some of the simpler questions are these:

  • Is the labor being paid a living wage?
  • Working in safe conditions?
  • Where and how are their fabrics sourced?
  • Are the garments made with healthy fabrics such as ironically including deadstock or stock that is leftover from a larger brand’s needs, rather than being thrown away!

Fabric will go the way of “out of many” we might end up with one, E Pluribus Unum a concept conceived by our founding fathers to unite the thirteen colonies thus initiating the melting pot concept. 

But these days we want unique cultures to stay intact and carry on with the foods, traditions, languages, and clothing that may define the culture while still assimilating into the varied conglomerate community. 

Salad Bowl Dress’s name is about retaining one’s individuality in your unique self and style. Derived from the term-A salad bowl or tossed salad is a metaphor for the way a multicultural society can integrate different cultures while maintaining their separate identities, contrasting with a melting pot, which emphasizes the combination of the parts into a single whole. … New York City can be considered as being a “salad bowl“.-Wikipedia

Or this explanation from Blog.Baruch.cuny  -The salad bowl theory is when newly arrived immigrants do not lose the unique aspects of their cultures like in the melting pot model, instead they retain them. … This idea proposes a society of many individuals, “pure” cultures in addition to the mixed culture that is modern American culture.

Since so many traditional fabrics are not sustainable on our depleted planet. Our future in textiles is going to be different with fewer choices for fabrication or fibers than today. But more ethically sourced and ingeniously woven or knitted. 

Especially the way fabrics have been made with petroleum products and with leather from cows being herded in the rain forests using tanneries so full of deadly chemicals the average lifespan of workers is only fifty years. I digress.

There is hope, so many innovative fabrics have been developed from mushrooms, bamboo, hemp, and synthetics that are not relying wholly on petroleum for manufacturing. There are lists of companies at The Good Trade. I have been purchasing from PACT for my undergarment needs, and they are a perfect example of a company that only uses organic cotton, innovative blends, and has transparent manufacturing listed on their website.

The least good alternative for scaling up into the billions, 2.5 billion is recycling presently, but for individuals, it is a very low cost and efficient use of resources to head towards zero waste in our households and communities. 

The second hand or upcycling alternative is very creative and custom in its nature. SaladBowlDress has a very utilitarian component, as well as a casual shirt or dress, all with pockets for a person on the go. 

The quality is better simply by being made one at a time, therefore easily customizable. The design is contemporary, classic, and using clothing deconstructed into new fashionable pieces. 

It is our goal to support all sustainable clothing brands in the quest to do something about the number one polluter on Earth, fashion, the major cause of global warming. But it doesn’t mean we can not have fun with fashion while we are doing it.

Get Your Dressing On!

The State of Fashion /Coronavirus Update

The State of Fashion /Coronavirus Update

State of Market

Informa Markets Fashion

Coronavirus update with Nick Blunden, president, BofF

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The State of Fashion with Nick Blunden summary: 

I tuned in to the Business of Fashion’s Nick Blunden talk about what a huge impact Covid is having on the fashion industry. He shared a lot of statistics affecting the fashion industry. Starting with the fact that it is hit harder than most with a 2.5 trillion contribution to the economy worldwide.

Fashion is a discretionary purchase. 

Never before has the demand side and supply side been depleted to this level. The crisis is unprecedented in lost sales and store closures.  

Consumer sentiment stopped, there were pretty much no sales. People were feeling unsure about the need for clothing since for the most part, it is a discretionary expenditure.

Fashion is a 5% of GDP dropped worldwide and upwards of 10% drop in Italy. 

Physical sales were prevalent in the past, contrary to what is assumed that most sales have shifted toward online. Especially in the luxury space where most sales were made in a brick and mortar store. 

Pre corona department store shopping dropped 27-30% from what it was when it was already on the decline. The second wave of lockdown caused 80% to go into chapter 11. In the future, Physical retail will look different with social distancing. 

The Luxury segment is a 500 billion industry and had a 120 billion dollar drop. It was hit harder because it is even more discretionary spending than overall, therefore more heavily hit. 

Its market is more reliant on travel. Typically it has lower levels of online shopping and is

more dependent on department stores. In the recession of 2008 a 5% decline in the overall market, but luxury was an 8% decline.

Although there is an additional channel shift to e-commerce, only some have benefitted, impacted the demand side and supply side, and created an inventory misalignment. 

Some stores could not get their hands on some goods, while others had a supply-side creating a global phenomenon, causing an incredible impact on workers particularly low-cost sources and fashion hubs resulting in hunger and disease.

What will the industry look like after the virus? The whole industry is due for a reset. 

Five themes spread across three categories. 

  • Global economy

First, important survival instincts will not bounce back the same, it will be a long hard road, the global economy will take years. It has to think very strategically, and not to return anytime soon. It will take years. 

  • Geographic Footprint

They need to start thinking about a recovery plan. First, a geographic footprint will change to more localized retail. Supply chains will change, interesting changes predict shortening supply chains closer to key markets, move from pull than a push model. ( instead of having an inventory of goods, more made to order)

  • Growth Opportunities

Growth opportunities for the one in three who are prepared. What recovery looks like is following the impact of consumer shifts which are myriad.

  1. The old fashion industry contracting, looking for a deal, match with massive industry inventory shift to a discounting culture is going to be difficult.
  2. In context, the discount strategy has to be careful to get rid of stock.
  3. Think carefully about specific channels.
  • Consumer Shifts

Discounts and value for the consumer are now starting to think about sustainability and diversity, purpose vision, spend with those companies for value-driven will see gains and sell at full price.

  • Digital Escalation

Much bigger drivers going forward. Digital escalation is so profound, deconstructed in a way. Accelerated consumer trends moving forward towards a digital future, grown dramatically, those we believe will continue past the pandemic. 

Fashion investing in digital talent where they can. Digital-first mindset, buy online, pick up in-store. Can be less profitable, but the consumer is saying it is important a primary priority. 

What impacts us as a whole is recognizing considerable shake out of consolidation. Struggling to cover the cost of capital, 2018 super winners Nike, Burberry 177% responsible for the most profit. Many businesses are born in a crisis. Travel /luxury will rebound more quickly -exposed to the wealth of China. 

Innovation will ultimately be virtual, how are you going to thrive in the new normal? 

How will you deal with excess stock? 

How will you accelerate offline sales? 

How can you benefit? 

How can you think about innovation? 

All can build a better industry.

 As emerging designers of a brand, there are opportunities in how you engage. 

Platforms like farfetched, give opportunities to invest and engage. 

Very important to think about community, building a loyal community. 

Does it fit that authentic, sustainable, purpose, value-driven? 

One company in particular Nike has all of these elements including customization and they own the customer relationship.

At the very heart of the strategy, higher-end Gucci has done some incredible changes. Being agile, moved towards a season-less collection with two shows a year rather than six or seven. 

https://www.gucci.com/us/en/st/capsule/prefall-preview is a wonderful site to peruse.

The Resale market is extremely popular with companies like Real Real.

The resale and second-hand market is being tried all over, for instance with Levi’s to Nordstroms selling their used garments in stores. 

Where do the influencers and social media fit in? See the link for Good On You sustainable influencers going forward. They are more important than ever. The inspiration plays a massively important role going forward.

Concluding with the disruption of physical fashion shows becoming almost obsolete. Showing virtually will be more popular, and shows are fewer and farther between.

For more on the Business of Fashion, and more about the future of fashion see this pdf report by the mckinsey.com  here.


The Fast Fashion Money Crunchers

The Fast Fashion Money Crunchers

The Fast Fashion Money Crunchers

For years I worked in the fashion industry as a professional patternmaker and tailor in NYC and Los Angeles. I have worked for some iconic brands like Betsy Johnson, Ellen Tracy, and here in the O.C. at St. John Knits were making the clothing was an art form, fun, creative, and inspiring. 

But other companies where I worked, the fast-fashion money crunchers were not so inspiring, seeing in-house samples and store-bought samples shipped overseas to be copied by factories all over the world, haggling over a few cents in cost, demanding lower prices sacrificing better quality on a daily basis, took its toll. 

At the same time, I was experiencing that we all had so many clothes and nothing to wear. All the clothing in our individual lives is overtaking all of us. Going out to buy something new every week, and never really being satisfied.

Furthermore, I saw the quality of the workmanship or fabrics get destroyed to make a profit. I felt as a consumer and an American I could afford better quality, better design, and overall better fit. 

That’s when I started my own line of custom clothing. When you try on my Salad Bowl Dress pieces they feel good, hang well, and follow the form of the person wearing them. That is what you get with tailoring, hand sewing, and independently picked fabrications. Clothing that is durable for an active life, flattering to the soul, full of compartments to place the devices we all depend on, binoculars, scissors, found objects, shoes, food, and glasses. 

All the clothing is hand-made by me, Mary Colmar, in my studio, on my industrial single needle sewing machine and industrial Juki serge machine. (All larger quantity orders are made locally by individuals that sew as well and local contractors).

Subsequently, people ask me all the time where do I get all the clothes I cut up? To this day I have not had to buy anything at the Good Will except once when there was a run on trench coats I was making and I arrived to find all the name brand chino pants I was using were half price. 

Sometimes I want to make up a story that at the stroke of midnight I walk out into the forest and pick clothes falling off trees. Because clothing is everywhere being thrown out or begged to be removed from overstuffed closets. 

Actually, when I moved to the suburbs and sat in the parking lot looking at all the people walking out of the mall I thought, these are the fashionistas, they are going to look great. 

Almost the opposite, a lot of people were buying more of the same ill-fitting, cheap fabrications of a designers original concept, completely dummied down by the greedy fast fashion money crunchers that could care less about giving people what they really want but instead focused on what they would spend because we all know the less expensive the better for us, ha, ha.

The incredible waste I saw also irked me to no end. We literally had ninety percent of our work go in the trash to exploit that one company or garment that met our needs in cost. 

I began to wonder about the lives of these garment workers and I could not justify the fact that they might starve if not for the garment worker job which really was not the case. There are rich cultures of traditional craft and occupations before the factories moved in.