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Fashion mash-ups 

Remixed vintage has got Halifax fashion on lock. Julie Sobowale gets the designers’ take.

click to enlarge The Indie Boutik Collective is a fashion force to be reckoned with. - ANGELA GZOWSKI
  • The Indie Boutik Collective is a fashion force to be reckoned with.
  • Angela Gzowski

Don't throw away those old pair of jeans just yet. Designers are turning old into new in the vintage movement.

Amy Honey's shop, Fancy Lucky (4144 Lawrencetown Road by appointment), offers vintage items from the '40s to '60s. The Lawrencetown based designer upcycles clothes, restoring old pieces with a modern touch. "Each item is like an artifact with its own story," says Honey.

Recently Honey expanded with a second location at Plan B Merchants Co-op (2180 Gottingen), a co-op bringing various designers together. As a former retailer in Vancouver, Honey wanted to avoid the daily grind of running a boutique alone. "I couldn't do the city shop thing again," says Honey. "This was the perfect solution for me."

Honey is focused on her first collection, to be completed in February. Her mash-ups involve multiple fabrics from older pieces to make a new item. "I look at different pieces and just pluck what I need," says Honey. "It's a bit unorthodox."

Other designers are getting in on remixing vintage for a modern crowd. Katherine Munroe's Dakini Silks features vintage silks remade into artistic shirts and blouses. "I was always making things as a kid," says Munroe. "My drawing and painting experience really helped me learn how to design."

Like other designers in the city, Munroe was faced with the dilemma of renting a downtown location at an affordable price. She decided to rent out part of her space to other designers through the newly created Indie Boutik Collective (1542B Queen Street). Five designers are based out of the shop. "It's easier for us to come together and help each other out," says Munroe.

One new addition is Anna Gilkerson's Makenew Vintage. Her collections feature classic vintage pieces for young professionals. "Vintage shopping is about individuality and taste," says Gilkerson. "I try to set myself apart from the other shops by offering what I and my customer would like rather than just any vintage I can find. I'm very careful in my selecting process."

Need to do some restoring on that old sweater? The Clothing Textile Action Group (CTAG) is hosting Slow Fashion 101 this Tuesday. The event features The Loop's Mimi Fautley teaching the finer points of needle-felted mending and Helen Opie, a darner who's been mending for 65 years. Darning is a mending technique where holes are filled using yarn, thread and needles.

CTAG, a subcommittee of the Ecology Action Centre, hopes to educate about sustainable methods of clothing production. Ellen Agger, co-owner of TAMMACHAT Natural Textiles and member of CTAG, wants people to be aware about the environmental footprint of the garment industry.

"We need to think about where our clothes come from and the environmental impact," says Agger. "I choose to import silk from Thailand because I know it's coming from rural women who have control over setting the price and their working conditions. When I wear a piece of clothing from there, I can feel good because I know those women benefitted from making that garment."

Fashion is global. Students at Dalhousie University hope to educate people about fashion around the world. The International Development Education and Awareness Society (IDEAS) will host the Fashion Without Borders International Fashion Show this Saturday, featuring borrowed pieces from students across six continents showcasing 80 different designs.

"Fashion is an expression of culture," says external coordinator Andrea Landriault. "We want the public to have a bigger understanding of the world."


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