This is a picture of a little girl with a lot to say. Through lengthy stories, animated gestures and sheer volume, communication has never been difficult. Not always effective communication, perhaps, but sharing has always been easy. Personality was also expressed through fashion. Coordinating handbags, lipstick, denim on denim, art projects turned accessories, and often an equally as gussied up doll were just the start.
This photo is, of course, the smaller but no less opinionated version of me. I had just been gifted a box of handmade clothes for dress up. Using the most shiny, sequin clad, polyester blends available to her, my grandmother made me a box of dreams on my fourth birthday. For someone with a lot to say, the photo shows my shell shock in that Godfather’s pizza on a cold December day. That was a box of potential, with a volume of outfits I hadn’t fully realized. Equally unrealized, the love put into making that box of clothes was huge. It is a time consuming thing to gather and create such a large amount of garments. Hours went into this thoughtful gift for a tenfold amount of play in return on this investment.
My grandmother made me a box of clothes that lasted, durable and now saved to be used by future generations. I couldn’t tell you where the fabric was sourced from. However, decades later, after she passed away I found familiar scraps from these garments in her stash. The value assigned to the materials gave her pause to tuck them away and to be utilized again when the right project required it. My grandma made these items by hand, despite fast fashion’s rise making garments such as these commonplace and affordable. My grandmother was patient and knew the value of a project you could sink your teeth into. Lastly, these were NOT boring clothes. This box of magic was not lacking in self expression, potential or beauty. Those are not things to be compromised.
Clothes are powerful. Homegoods are powerful. Mending is powerful. Textiles are powerful. Materials can tell a story and rewrite stories. An Upcycled Closet was born out of a desire to reduce the power of waste and reclaim the power of materials that already exist. What a beautiful world we have and what a beautiful life we can make in it. We do not have to compromise self expression, resources, labor, and our future to make beautiful what we have right now. An Upcycled Closet hopes to introduce you to businesses, tips, and products beyond our own that may help introduce this power. I still have a lot to say, just like when I was four and all of the years in between. But hopefully this space will allow you to hear many voices that promote a sustainable life style and the ways our interactions with it hold power.