Sarah Merrell serves as Community Director for Asheville Fashion Week and directs fashion shows in the area. She is the Digital Media and Production Manager for Mary Beth West...
There is something meaningful about handmade items. There is a person behind it, who with great care, and even love, creates art.
Local Cloth's Project Handmade Fashion Show is back for another year with Elements of Nature, highlighting local textile artists and garment designers who emobdy the essence of handmade. The textiles used are hand woven, knitted, felted, naturally dyed, shibori-dyed, eco-printed, quilted, repurposed, embroided and even beaded. All entries are required to include locally sourced materials or creative resources, and collaboration is encouraged. This fashion show event will take place Thursday, September 22 at 7 p.m. at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville.
The event is significant and touches on an important trend: the dire state of locally-made garments. In 1960, the average household purchased 25 garments a year, and of those, 95% were made in the United States. Now, half a century later, we buy more clothing than ever before at about 70 pieces per person, and only 20% of that is made in the United States. Overseas apparel manufacturing provides cheap labor and materials, so it's no wonder so many apparel companies have moved their production overseas. While Americans can easily go to the mall and purchase a sweater made in China for under $50, what is lost is the art and quality.
Project Handmade focuses on a far better plan than disposable, cheap, mass-market clothing by supporting local, quality, individually-styled clothing--much of it available within a 100-mile radius of Asheville. The fashion show highlights clothing that uses local resources and collaborations between local fiber artists. It's about getting back to nature: celebrating not only the beauty of the area and Blue Ridge Mountains, but the beauty of garments born from nature.
Asheville's thriving fashion scene has gained notoriety in recent years for its uniqueness and distinctive style, and Project Handmade, which has grown each year, certainly manifests that aesthetic and has grown with each event. "We had a record number of entries this year from many more parts of the Local Cloth region," said Vicki Bennett, co-chair of the 2016 event. "Some of our familiar juried artists are back from our 2012 and 2014 shows, but we are excited to present work by several new participants representing an expanding range of textile design techniques."
This year, 42 juried garments and accessories will be displayed in the fashion show. Attendees can expect to see these stunning wearable works art while also supporting a valuable community organization.
Change doesn't happen overnight, but Asheville, and the surrounding region, can make a difference by supporting the mission of Local Cloth to sustain and grow the fiber and textile arts economy.
Tickets are now on sale, general admission tickets at $20 and may be purchased online at www.localcloth.org. A limited number of VIP tickets for priority seating are available and can be ordered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 828-222-0356.
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About Local Cloth:
Local Cloth is a Western North Carolina based 501(c)(3) organization that encourages and supports collaboration among textile artists, designers, fiber producers, suppliers and related small businesses. Its mission is to sustain and grow a thriving regional fiber and textile arts economy and bring locally grown and made textiles and products to consumers within and beyond the Blue Ridge.
Photo Credit: Morgan Ford Photography