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Meeting the 2019 Glitter Gala Upcycle Designers Part II

POSTED October 25, 2019 IN: DIY Projects

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The community will come together on November 2nd to celebrate the resilient women of Seattle Goodwill and raise funds for free Job Training and Educations Programs at this year’s Glitter Gala.  This year’s fashion show will feature garments from Goodwill stores and four local designers’ construction of an upcycled look with materials found at the Seattle Outlet store.  We talked to two of the designers to learn more.

Janelle Abbott

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Tell us a bit about your designs and style?

I work exclusively in the zero waste methodology, which means whenever I design patterns I am essentially creating a giant puzzle where all the pattern pieces fit together so that nothing is wasted. For the most part I work in one-of-a-kinds, cutting each piece through an intuitive style, then reorienting those pieces to one another together to create the garment—even though I cannot replicate these pieces because they were created through intuition, the initial cuts are zero waste nonetheless. I am also on a mission to fight consumer waste—last I heard 3.8 billion pounds of textiles end up in landfills annually. The average consumer individually trashes 70 pounds of textiles a year. Many of my designs incorporate already existing clothing that has been deconstructed or reconsidered in combination with other materials to become a new thing. I have a service called Wardrobe Therapy where I take on clients who have clothing in their closets that they never wear—through a long conversation about their relationship to fashion (past, present, future) and a dive into their personal aesthetic goals, we design pieces to be created out of their old unused, unworn, sentimental garments. I find these commitments to sustainability, upcycling, zero waste design, etc. to be the most inspiring because they simultaneously provide restrictions and freedom. I am restricted to using all used materials, to using reclaimed materials, and designing within that mindset, but I have the freedom to allow the design to almost manifest itself as a result. There is a sense of vision behind the work, but I am also always trying to allow the material to speak for itself, and take the lead. And 9 times out of 10 I am both surprised and delighted by the results!

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What are some of your favorite Goodwill finds?

My all-time favorite Goodwill find was discovered at the Goodwill Outlet when I was in high school. I found a vintage t-shirt that looked like the Indiana Jones “Raiders of the Lost Ark” poster, but it said “Rainiers” instead, and the treasure pictured behind Harrison Ford was all kegs of Rainier beer. I still have it.

If someone was new to shopping thrift what tips would you give them?

The key to thrifting is to shop EVERYTHING—every section, every category, every size, gender, everything. There are gems to be found everywhere. If you’re walking into the thrift store thinking “I need to find a yellow skirt,” go look for a yellow skirt, then give it up and shop for whatever there is to be found—whatever is waiting there for you that you didn’t know you needed. That’s not to say you should recklessly buy things, but you have to approach it with a sense of playfulness, like a treasure hunter, without limitations or expectations. The only thing you should expect to be is surprised!

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Do you have a Goodwill store you shop more frequently?

I love the Goodwill Outlet; it is by far my Goodwill of choice. I used to go to the one in Seattle periodically, but most recently I have ended up at the one in Everett with my grandma. She buys coats and jackets for a clothing drive her church organizes for the homeless in Seattle—her car is almost always filled with trash bags that are packed with winter clothing.

Why should people come to the Glitter Gala and see the fashion show?

Goodwill, for one thing, is doing really powerful and important work providing jobs and education for individuals who are looking to transition into more stable and sustainable modes of living. Providing support to their mission is imperative to the success of their mission. But I also think the event is going to be a lot of fun! It’s going to be an inspiring experience to see a wide variety of aesthetics, points of view, and ideas about how to restyle, reinvent, and revolutionize the way we approach thrifted and reclaimed clothing.

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Anything else you would like to add?

I’m really honored to be included in this event. It’s exactly the kind of work I want to be doing, and I am just so excited to show this work on the runway! Thank you!

And also, if anyone is interested to learn more about Wardrobe Therapy, they can email me for more details: <3 I am taking clients for 2020 right now!

Jen Charkow

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Tell us a bit about your designs and style?

I would best describe my style as a cross between Rick Owens and Alexander McQueen. My work can go from understated and minimal to over the top dark romance with always a touch of punk rock! I also do my best to use eco-friendly or sustainable fabrics as well as the occasional used parachute.

What are some of your favorite Goodwill finds?

One of my favorite finds is a very nice VCR that I was in search for so I can play my original Star Wars VSH tapes.

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If someone was new to shopping thrift what tips would you give them?

I would say keep an open mind and start with your favorite color if you’re looking for clothes and go from there. Also, have fun because you never know what you are going to find.

Do you have a Goodwill store you shop more frequently?

I would have to say the one in South Lake Union area only because it’s within walking distance from my house.  Plus, it’s also smaller, so it doesn’t feel as overwhelming to me.

Can you share a bit about your upcycled design for the Glitter Gala?

The element that I’m working with is Fire. I didn’t want to go down the easier route of making my model look like a flame of fire. I decided to look at the beginning and end of a fire. The smoke and the burnt parts of what fires leave behind. So it will look like she stepping out of the ash of a fire.

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Why should people come to the Glitter Gala and see the fashion show?

People should come to help support Goodwill and all the great things it does for our community. I think that it will give people ideas on how they can style the pieces they can find at Goodwill, as well as have a great night out enjoying wearable art.

Register for the 2019 Glitter Gala and Fashion Show now!

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