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.