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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Redress Raleigh: Not just fashion as usual

Posted by on Sat, Apr 17, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Margo Scott
  • Photo courtesy of Margo Scott, Rocket Betty Designs
  • One of designer Margo Scott's tiki-inspired creations.
Green, sustainable fashion is so hot right now. But residents of the Triangle don’t have to jet to New York or Los Angeles to see it (which is good, since the goal is to reduce the carbon footprint). This weekend, they can head into downtown Raleigh to see local eco-friendly fashion.

Mor Aframian initially founded MorLove, a nonprofit with proceeds going to aid orphans at the Amani Baby Cottage in Jinga, Uganda. She met Jamie Powell, who had participated in a MorLove fashion show in 2008. Aframian, Powell and Beth Stewart of Emerging Green Builders joined forces in organizing an eco-friendly fashion show for the Triangle. The first Redress Raleigh (RR) show was held last year.

“We learned a lot from last year. We’ve tried to tweak it and refine it a little more,” Aframian says. Only 15 designers will show Saturday night, as opposed to last year’s 20, and a jurying process was added for potential participants. Planning for the show has lasted for nine months—Aframian likens the process to gestating a child.

The event has attracted high-school, college and professional designers from all over the state. Naturally, the range of talent begets a propensity for diversity.

“There’s a good variety of ready-to-wear [garments], couture and adding different techniques and objects,” Aframian says.

Designer Rima L’Amir first volunteered for MorLove at its inception in 2006. Though this is her first year designing for the event, she had heard of it before.

“I’ve definitely been interested in RR, because sustainable fashion in what I want to do,” L’Amir says.

L’Amir’s collection mixes organic cotton with fabric she’s found in various places, such as her apartment and her work with MorLove.

“It’s a ready-to-wear line for young men and women, ages 20 to 30,” L’Amir says. She notes that this is her first time creating menswear, and it’s been a challenge.

Designer Margo Scott, owner of Durham’s Rocket Betty Designs, had heard of the show through Powell, one of Redress Raleigh’s producers. Scott is a first-time participant with the show, and will showcase her vintage-inspired designs.

“The majority of what I do is inspired by the early ’40s,’50s and early ’60s. I take it and give it a modern twist,” Scott says. Her ultimate goal with her designs is for women to have fun while wearing her garments.

Scott’s line for the show is inspired by the tiki bars of yore.

“I wanted to come up with something that was fun and spring, with a little bit of a vintage edge,” Scott says of her inspiration. “Everything has a Mad Men feel.” Scott aimed for the years between 1958 and 1962 as her point of reference.

Scott has been working on her line since December, when she first turned in her Redress Raleigh application to show. But as time winds down closer to the show, her preparations have only ramped up.

“I’m still working fast and furious to finish all of my pieces,” Scott says. She’s also creating accessories to complement the clothes. In addition to her garments, she’s also having her models carry parasols on the runway.

“I’m taking those parasols and incorporating parts of the dresses into them,” Scott says, adding that she’s owned the parasols for years and can’t recall how she initially got them. She’s also making a jacket to complement one dress.

Scott says the hardest part of creating her collection has been finding fabrics to meet the event’s requirements.

“Since everything has to be green, sourcing my fabrics is a little more complicated,” Scott says. She’s bought much of her fabric online, and adds that she’s very picky about what she wants.

“I try and source as much [fabric] as I can locally,” Scott says, mentioning that she’s a big fan of the local movement and calls creating her line the “slow fashion approach.” She’s also using found objects in her pieces.

“All of my zippers have been ripped from something else,” Scott says.

Aframian wants the audience to come away from the show with a new appreciation for locally made goods.

“Our ultimate goal is to encourage our audience to shop locally,” Aframian says. “We’re trying to wow people and say, ‘this is really cool and you can still wear it’ without it being from Target.”

She also wants to encourage universally beneficial community building in the process.

“We’re just excited to be part of the community. We’re showing off people who need to be noticed,” Aframian says.

The Redress Raleigh fashion show will be held Saturday night at 7 at Flanders Art Gallery. Tickets are $25 for seats, $10 at the door and $8 for standing room. Seventy percent of the proceeds will go to MorLove, which will go towards helping the Amani Baby cottage as well as an orphanage in Haiti for needed supplies. You can find out more information here.

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