'Coat of Many Colors' by Meiling Chen
As (Re)Fashioning Fiber comes to a conclusion next week, I am nostalgic for the beginning of this exhibit's journey and my seedling ideas related to fiber, fashion, and the overlay of art. I sometimes feel as if I am spreading myself too thin with numerous projects related to textiles, eco fashion writing, and environmental art, but then I am reminded of this exquisitely embroidered garment entitled Coat of Many Colors by Meiling Chen. Crafted from a recycled Oxford shirt, old wire hanger, and vintage threads from the flea market, it is all about saving, forgiving, and donning a multi-hued outlook.
'Fashion sketches' by Meiling Chen paired with knit fiber necklaces by Renata Mann
I think a lot about the role that creativity plays in sustainable fashion endeavors and whether some feel that this detracts from the urgent sustainability agenda of (eco) standardized materials, methods, and labeling. Part of me also wants to protect the designer from the laborious process of smart sustainable sourcing and the volumes of research that this entails. But like any truly modern creative enterprise, there tends to be is a spicy mix of ethereal and earthy matters. 98% perspiration, 2% inspiration, or so I am told.
'Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve' by Meiling Chen
Now that I have been writing about sustainable design and fashion for close to three years, I can only believe that an open heart and mind offer a solid foundation for building a convincing fashion collection and label. Sure there are loads of practicalities and conventions at play, but like any lasting endeavor, real transparency comes in the story behind the label, its crafting, and the timely vision of the designer. People recognize this immediately, and it speaks volumes to good, covetable (waste-free) design.
photo of Meiling Chen by Quinn Batson via GLiving
I adore Meiling Chen for being a Fearless Dreamer, no matter what the fashion odds are. It really is not about what comes down the runway each season, but rather what you identify with and adopt as the emblem of something you want to wear as your badge of courage or cloak in tackling the challenges we face on a collective stage.