To Cut or Not To Cut

To Cut or Not To Cut

To cut or not to cut? Cut all these clothes I have? 

These days I am not so hesitant to cut into more expensive designer garments. 

Although I still say I would not cut up a Chanel suit. I have only seen a Chanel suit once in a friend’s closet. She was someone who dressed more like Stevie Nicks with flowy silky dresses than wearing a couture jacket.

On a practical note, potentially losing a few thousand dollars by destroying what the coat is intrinsically worth? I ask rhetorically, should certain designers are off limits for upcycling? Of course not!

Does waste matter more by seeing less expensive clothes in the world? While clothes go to waste regardless of their cost, would you like to see it deconstructed, or should we always honor the original structure of a garment? A garment that has become disposed of, like most clothes end up, contributing to the Fashion Industry creating the largest portion of human waste today. 

Am I allowed to cut up anything I want? 

Well it was hard to actually sell a portion of what I considered unusable clothes on Ebay. Not because it wasn’t selling, I did not want to post it. I wanted it for myself, for my creative endeavors. If I had some nice business clothes, often I would then give them to a charity WHW Women Helping Women. But since things have been closed and donations restricted I decided to do a little more, combining jackets into one perfect one and so on. 

This time it was one Wilson House of Suede Black Leather coat from the eighties, a Goretex all weather coat, an Ungaro suit, an Ed Hardy hoody sweater and some other stuff. Mixed in was a hat from a company that will replace it when it gets worn out, and people put this hat in their will, where I got mine. These were clothes I had to “process”. 

A long time ago I sold an Isaac Mizrai shift dress and matching coat from Target, in a huge navy and white abstract flower print that I miss to this day. Maybe I got what I paid for them, around 70.00? Not worth it when I could have made so much from these. I have such fond memories of the ensemble and I actually wore them on occasion, usually as separates but a few times together. At the time I thought about using the fabric in something else, reworking the dress and making a vest out of the jacket but I thought not to mess with designer wear even if it was from Target. 

Nowadays I see Louis Vitton bags being cut up for wrist bracelets, used as canvasses for little paintings and new keychains. I love it actually. I have an LV bag my niece gifted me before she moved to the jungle and I almost sold it. It has about doubled in value. I may repurpose it or at least since it was a gift I keep it.

I had just moved back to Southern California when Isaac started selling clothing at Target. I had just gotten a job at St. John Knits in Irvine CA. They had a really funny dress code, no jeans. Well that left me with nothing to wear half of the time. So I started buying the ill fitting Target tailored Isaac clothing. Dress ensembles, skirts, pants, cardigan sweaters which none of it really fit me right. I was still skinny from living in NYC but always had a more high fashion model body, long waist, still skinny but more hippy, as in hips.

Although I quit that job after one year (another blog). I really should never have bought so many funky Target clothes to begin with for work. Nick, the patternmaker I worked with had a little intervention with me one day when I was wearing my chino Gap pants to say I should go out and buy five more pairs just like them and stop wearing the other shit. I bought a few more pairs and started wearing jeans too. I am at my best in a white sea island cotton or silk shirt tucked or tied at the waist with jeans and black shoes, boots, sandals, tennis shoes, wingtips or pumps. I like a few different styles of jacket or sweater to go with the outfit too. While I am at it, accessories with little silk scarves and easy jewelry too, necklaces have to go over my head only, not good with clasps except for earrings so they do not pull out. 

I digress, so I was hesitant to post these items for sale. Because while I was working at my many jobs back in the day we cut up a Calvin Kline jacket for the pattern. Somewhat recently a very hip company asked me to knock off a Row trench coat and already had it in pieces. I still see it on the line of the company. That is probably how I became so comfortable cutting up clothing. It was my job as a patternmaker, I either had a bunch of funky samples made out of the wrong sample fabric that no one wanted or nice first samples that needed some fit corrections. 

Anyway the abundance of clothing at my disposal was pretty incredible and yet, I didn’t even want it. Once in a while I would take a collar home and sew it on a tshirt or sometimes cuffs. Once I had an oversized coulotte that I took home and made a bunch of pleats in it and wore that piece for years to weddings and everywhere practically. 

I know not everyone has had the experience with clothing that I have where they feel comfortable cutting up clothes in their closet, or perhaps something just short of a Chanel jacket. 

But we all should try, while researching the sustainable fashion movement we are not going to have leather, cotton, and silk like we have in abundance in our closets right now. So I will love it, refashion it, make it into something I can cherish and wear.

In my case I am more inspired and excited to make something cooler out of the stuff for selling; so be it.  I will put it on the line of SaladBowlDress made into three or perhaps four garments on a good day.

For others thinking about making or upcycling their clothes I still say go for it to find your personal style and look your best.

Sustainable Fashion/What Am I Doing?

Sustainable Fashion/What Am I Doing?



We are writing new blogs weekly to share information about 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!

In the Future Call It Fashion or Clothing?

In the Future Call It Fashion or Clothing?




Intersectional Connection​ is what sustainable fashion is really all about. We consume with our money and we do not always check for the transparency of manufacturing and energy use in the corporations we are patronizing.



For every purchase, we make it is important to check the sustainability quotient of the company behind the garment. Good Trade has a nice list of reputable sustainable companies.



Is the fabric dead stock or innovative hemp or mushroom leather? Did you know leather is just plain bad? ​The rainforest is being mowed down not by soybeans but by leather. ​Forget about the dead cows it is bad for the people working in the tanneries that have a life expectancy of fifty years old. IE: Chemicals, river​ The faux leathers all have their own controversies but non as bad as real leather.



It is important that we demand transparency. What we are looking for?
Is the manufacturing local or overseas?
Are the wages a living wage?



Is the fabric organic cotton, recycled polyester, hemp, farmed silk, viscose, ag fibers trying to scale up.



Spending time a few weekends ago at the Impact Fashion Summit my initial takeaways are that maybe we shouldn’t call it fashion at all. Call it clothing. Slow fashion, sustainable fashion, be the change, start in your own small community.



The intricacies of fair-trade are beyond me.
Our trade agreements, like walls, keep foreign factories from having a better standard of living. Interesting and complex, we are always close to getting something humanitarian ratified.



The miracle fabrics of the future are truly plant-based grown in regions that can handle certain plants. 2.5 billion people now will remember when we had choices in our fabric but the next 2.5 billion will have to rely on scaled-up versions made from plants.



Child labor is alive and well. San Salvador company closing after employees worked there for 10 to 35 years. Offered some old machines but no severance pay.



Fast fashion came about by the fashion industry feeding us clothing as fast as humanly possible to the point we kept consuming it since it was so affordable that now the fashion industry knows it has created a monster.



We need to get back to four or five seasons a year. Enjoy a regionally made garment of quality. Not exactly Slow Fashion in the strictest terms but back to enjoying the work, the product, and the necessity again for something we wear for a while because we love it.



How do we want to scale up? Most likely with a plant-based fiber that grows in a permaculture environment. The Tropical Regeneration ag movement is doing amazing work.



Is clothing disposable? Not from anyone’s standpoint is it disposable but it has become just that creating the leading cause of Climate Change on the planet.



We live in a time where clothing is so available we tend to buy it and dispose of it.



How we dispose of it is pretty key. Sell, and remake seems to be our only choices. Donations to people make sense or manufacturers but places like Goodwill usually end up taking it too the landfill eventually.



My personal favorite sustainable clothing is made from other clothes or upcycling. But I get sick of hearing that term. At its simplest, It is mending what you have, patching a hole, washing a stain out, sewing on a button, hemming, adding elastic, or taking inside seams for a better fit.



Sometimes it is deconstructed. Opening up all the seams to reveal pieces that can be put back together in a new and interesting way. Usually, it is a drastic artful altercation. But it also creates fabric to make whatever you want, and details to add wherever you want.



It is the ultimate utilitarian military-style or highly functional original dresses, shirts, and suits, clothing that fits and works with style.


Deconstructed Clothing or Upcycle

Deconstructed Clothing or Upcycle

Wearing an upcycled shirt.

My name is Mary Colmar, and I make deconstructed clothing. It is something I have always done. Making exactly what I want with what is lying around: tons of unwearable clothing. Sometimes when people do this it can look kind of ridiculous, but it also shows so much creativity.

It is streetwear to the essence although it does not consist of traditional skatewear. My peeps wear it for working at play. It is always durable, functional with hidden pockets, and the like. Always cut to flatter all sexes. My fashions can be custom made pretty well, too.

Men's Sustainable Vest Men’s Vest with CF zipper and double big pockets to hold a lot of stuff.

The story behind all this began as I worked in the fashion industry in NYC first as a designer, then a patternmaker/technical designer all while raising three kids. I bagged a job where I only worked four days a week about 36 hours which enabled me to create on my own and be around for my community and family.

You could imagine the kind of clothing we all needed and just not found. Something we could wear from the playground to the city, with pockets for drinks, keys, and phone. Something like what all streetwear needs.

Jean wearing her upcycle vest for all its versatility.Sustainable Four Pocket Vest

But I had tons of clothes kids were outgrowing that I became sentimental about and wanted to get more wear out of too. So, I made stuff, and my neighborhood intervened and told me to get a studio of my own in Brooklyn. That lasted for six glorious months.

Then I moved to the suburbs of So Cal. It was different but still found a way to make clothes, hats, and the ultimate vest to wear all the time, on a bike, to the beach, as the casual item to go around anywhere. #nopursenecessary

sustainable clothing

As a mom, I was pulled in lots of directions most of all to care for the family. The family grows and succeeds gratefully and the living room became my studio, ramped up from the garage but time to move into the massive warehouse where I will collect and sort clothing, follow tech packs for how to cut pieces and manufacture in Santa Ana, CA, L.A, and possibly Ethiopia, so far.

The Bicycle vest with two way zipper.

The community I have created with my work revolves around art and social work. Music is fast becoming part of it as my customers are wearing my clothing to perform on stage. My family are an influence and part of the empire. As artists and scientists I see my brand as a solution to keeping clothing out of the landfill with endless possibilities for products. #noclothesinthelandfill

Living Room Studio

Salad Bowl Dress Studio

Right now, we make t-shirt bags, hats, dresses, blouses, jackets, shirts, pants, skirts, and lots of vests of every stripe. Our mode of distribution is through the artisanal farmers market, Melrose, Claremont, Newport Beach, and at museum gift shops: The Da, L.A. Museum of Craft, Museum of Art and History.

Our customers try to be the first ones to buy when we open and often we cannot keep up with demand. We see our product/service growing beyond the one-off and have plans in motion to scale up, accomplish the imminent mass production.

Romainian Fabric Vests

Often, people need help with small things to make their clothing wearable and we would like to be a part of that education process.  We would like to focus on the family of whatever form that takes, and design. Our wish is that we make people comfortable in their own skin, helping pursue their activities.

Get Your Dressing On!