Craftsmanship, it’s what we do….

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Craftsmanship no longer appears in any but the most expensive garments today,

and with good reason- the labor is skill-intensive and highly time-consuming.

It takes real skill to create a beautifully made and fitted garment, so it’s become a rarity in RTW, reserved only for the upper-echelon price points. But aside from that- the other thing that has basically disappeared from RTW at just about all price points is the use of natural fibers. (I’ve noticed this womenswear particularly. I don’t think they would dare try this in menswear, frankly) 

This part of the quality equation is a big pet peeve of mine!   Synthetic fibers may work fine for certain performance wear, but for real, everyday against your skin clothing – it’s frankly nasty. Synthetics don’t breathe, they promote sweat, and they harbor smell. They may be easy to care for, but so are cotton, silk, and leather!

Men have far greater options when it comes to choices in clothing – and natural fibers are much more available to them.

Here, the NYT’s touches on just the tip of the iceberg as far as what happens to these nasty petroleum products.

It’s not pretty.

If you know me,  you know I use almost exclusively natural fibers.  Synthetics are used on a minimal basis & all of my pieces are crafted to last for many, many years. Sustainability is integral to the work I do, and I would not have it any other way!

When I create a piece,  I have to respect my effort,  the beautiful raw materials and my client’s desires and investment.  This in a nut shell is my driving philosophy.

Here is a little working example of my type of sustainable fashion:

This simple cotton and cutwork leather tunic top began its life as a crazy experiment. One of the things I most enjoy doing when I have the opportunity is to challenge myself with new techniques and materials.

I made this top on a base of 100% cotton Bobbinet – it’s a very delicate tulle weave, without any stretch past what the weave allows – made in Switzerland, where the best cottons are woven.  The leather used is a very light, crinkled paperweight lamb skin.

The cotton netting layer was cut and then lightly tacked to the leather with a temporary adhesive.  Next, the design was hand-traced onto each piece.  I kept the design very freeform and animalistic,  keeping in mind the positive/ negative look I was going for. I do want to try a slightly different version of this technique soon, maybe on a little more complicated style.

Once stitched the negative spaces were trimmed out.  All of the work on this piece is done by hand, it is not computerized.  An intricate bit of craftsmanship – highly labor intensive, especially because of the fragile base fabric.

The finished tunic top was well worth the effort.  Effortless, simple, versatile, wearable & a really comfortable, one-of-a-kind piece.  Additionally, it is no longer anywhere near as delicate as the original fabric.  The tulle is greatly strengthened by the leather.  Even better, it breathes!  And the all  natural fibers are truly sustainable

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever:  its loveliness increases;  it will never pass into nothingness.”  This sums up sustainability perfectly.

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