Contributed by Diana Cooper, Green Cluster, Economic Development Office
I am amazed as I sit in a cozy studio, surrounded by cutting tables, sewing machines and dressmaker mannequins. Although it is dull and rainy outside, inside there are flashes of pinks and reds, rich browns and greens, and blues of many hues. These gorgeous swathes of fabric and intricate embroidered details have all been collected by fashion designer, Koren Bellman, for her new spring line – collected from recycled clothing.
Koren moved to Prince Edward County in 2006 for the lifestyle and the developing art scene. A performance artist and painter, she explained: “I have always collected recycled clothing and like making things for myself. Traditionally women always made and designed their own clothing.”
Koren draws inspiration from such designers as Jean Paul Gauthier, Christian Lacroix, Tom Ford and Alexander McQueen. They all weave art concepts into their designs, going to the streets to get a pulse on people.
Koren sees her work equally as eco-conscious and as fashion. “I love fashion and designing high end couture and costume. I love colours and combining them. I can’t believe how many beautiful textiles are being put into landfills. I appreciate the work and detail that other’s have done and I love to give it new life.”
The great thing about recycling fabric is finding finished details. Koren pulled out examples of intricate embroidery, funky pockets, and quirky stitching. The clothing she recycles is out of style but the fabric is gorgeous. “I see the potential in the fabric but the fabric really dictates the final piece. I look for fabric that falls really nicely or has a nice weight: suede and leather, wool. This season it is suede, bright colours, pastels.”
Koren uses three different sewing machines depending on the fabric, sometimes using all three on one piece. Everyone one of her pieces is a work of art, each one-of-a-kind and fits like a dream.
“I have a hard time using new fabric now. I love that I save something from the landfill”.
If you are interested in the opportunities for green business in Prince Edward County or if you would like to know more about greening your business, please contact me at (613)476-7901 ext 215 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.