Baltimore Upcycling, Vintage on Display in ‘Sustainable Fashion Weekend’


Caprece Jackson-Garrett says people are starting to gravitate more and more toward reusing and recycling clothing rather than buying it new—because they want to know the stories behind it.

“That’s where you have the sentiment,” she says. “Cause we all have something shoved in the back of our closet that reminds us of a moment— maybe it’s a wedding, maybe it’s a trip that we took abroad, maybe it’s where we met our significant other.”

“You know, that item that makes you happy when you wear it,” she adds.

Caprece Jackson--Garrett
Caprece Jackson-Garrett, of Bonneau Caprece, LLC. | Photo: Submitted

That’s what sustainable fashion is—extending the life of a garment through swapping, recycling, vintage, wearable art or zero-waste design to help reduce textile waste in landfills, Jackson-Garrett explains.

Sustainable Fashion Weekend in Baltimore, which includes a boutique bus tour, an upcycling workshop, a panel discussion and a fashion show, will be an opportunity for everyone to learn more about the practice.

The event begins on Friday, Oct. 22, as part of the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts Free Fall series in October.

The program was envisioned by three women in Baltimore, including Jackson-Garrett, a stylist, production specialist and curator of arts programming through Bonneau Caprece, LLC, Violesia Tull and Zakiya Shivers.

They wanted to bring more awareness to shopping sustainably.

Drawers of 1950’s undies, vintage placemats and more at Wishbone Reserve. | Mid-Atlantic Media File Photo.

“We want to focus on the boutiques. We want to focus on the talent and the experience because we feel that is the most effective way to introduce sustainable fashion to our community,” Jackson-Garrett says.

After a meet-and-greet on Friday, participants will pile into a bus on Saturday at first stop, Shivers’ Tightfisted Fashion, to go from boutique to boutique.

Led by Tull through her company Fashionably Chic Tour, the tour will include local boutiques K. Monique Vintage Boutique, Illicit Rag Vintage and Keepers Vintage.

There they will be able to select an item to add to their wardrobes as part of a style challenge, led by Shivers, to model on Sunday in the fashion show. At the show, boutique owners will be able to describe their looks.

A selection of shoes at Changed My Mind Vintage. | Mid-Atlantic Media File Photo.

Saturday evening, participants should bring one item to embellish a piece of clothing in an upcycling workshop led by Brandi Lewis, of Syeko Design House, at Blue Light Junction, a natural dye studio and garden in Baltimore.

In the two-hour session, participants will learn how to apply her canvas-painting style inspired by graffiti art and Jackson Pollock splash to anything wearable—a pair of sneakers, a jean jacket, a blazer, a  dress, a handbag or a boot—with free supplies provided by BOPA.

It’s the first time the series has been a part of Free Fall, and Jackson-Garrett says she hopes it will grow.

Sustainable fashion first began to emerge in Baltimore around 2015 or 2016, she says, and by 2018, the social consciousness globally had shifted to wanting to reduce fashion waste.

Jackson worked on projects such as Fashion Comes to Light, a pop-up fashion show for BOPA’s Light City, in which designers used found objects to integrate low-light technologies and reflective materials into wearable concepts, in 2019.

The cool thing is that shopping sustainably is not about status or trends but developing a personal style based on what you’re most attracted to, Jackson-Garrett notes.

Trends create waste each year because they’re about “what’s in, what’s out,” she says. “Whereas when you go to a swap or you upcycle a garment or accessory, you’re basically vibrating to your own aesthetic.”

For more information and to reserve free tickets, visit freefallbaltimore/events.

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