Why Fashion

On March 1, 2012 by Francesca

What is fashion? Why do we have fashion? Why in the hell is it so important?  What does it tell us about ourselves? That is what I think is so interesting about fashion and I guess, that is why I’m a fashion designer and artist.

Hi. I’m Francesca oh! and I love clothing but not for the typical reason most people do.  I love it because it is our most personal form of art.  It can speak volumes about one’s self, society, history and so much more.

First, I want to talk about how clothing can expresses oneself.  Examples I use, may or may not be your cup of tea.  Which is kind of how fashion is, some things you like, and some, not so much.  My focus is on the thought or the voice behind the clothes.  What you would see Through the Looking Glass if that mirror could speak.

This is my first blog entry and I’m going to talk about one relatively new area of fashion, which, consequently, I’m currently creating a line around.  It is “repurposed clothing”

 What is Repurposed Clothing?

The general dictionary meaning for repurpose is “to give a new purpose or use to.”  So my definition for “repurposed clothing” is “to give a new purpose or use to existing clothing.”

Why Design Repurposed Clothing?

Frankly, for me, because it’s fun, fascinating and challenging.  Each piece will always be original and there is an element of randomness and history that will create the present.  It also expresses us as a people, turning our thoughts toward sustainability, consciousness about ecology, making use of what we have already taken from Mother Nature and giving it a new use. It totally blows my mind when I think about it. Okay I don’t want to go off on too many tangents here, but in a nutshell, that is why I am designing repurposed clothing.

 What is the Look?

Pictures speak louder than words.

Power Shirtskirt Option #1

#1 Alternative Power Suit

Why is it so cool, so fun, so exciting and so beautiful?

From the purely artistic view, it is cool because of the new shapes and purposes you create in clothing.  This is because you don’t start two dimensionally with a flat piece of fabric.  You begin with an existing piece in three dimensions; as a result you have to work outside of the box.  Also, as I said, there is a sense of randomness about this type of clothing.  What one finds and combines to create something new, can never be mirrored.  Like every human individual, no person is ever alike.  As a result, this type of clothing will challenge you to look within.  At least, that is my perspective.

Sleeve Tie Shirtskirt Option #2

#2 Go Exotic

What is “Repurposed Clothing” telling us?

Ah, I could go on and on but basically as I see it, there are multi faceted levels in which this type of clothing speaks to me. There are the physical, mental, emotional, historical, social, artistic, creative and even spiritual levels. But for the sake of brevity, I’ll pick one, the physical, which is sort of how a fashion designer defines how they want their clothes to look.  When I was in design school many, many, many years ago, I was told to define the image of my design by images of who I wanted that person to be.  Well, I was never really good at picking things in just one area, so my look was always really conceptual.  I wanted to offer choice to become who you wanted to be.  Kind of a lofty idea but that was what I have always wanted in my designs. Thus on a physical level Francesca oh! repurposed clothing reflects choice, a choice to be who you want to be at any given moment.

Asymmetrical Option #3

#3 Keeps you guessing!

For example, in my skirt design, which I fondly named ShirtSkirts™ (this style is just the beginning, I have a few different designs for ShirtSkirts™).  So back to my red and black plaid ShirtSkirt™, this style is from my Upcycled Experience collection and is called the Classic ShirtSkirt™.  It has a minimum of 3 looks.  The first choice is the classic straight skirt, shown in picture #1. It is my alternative to the female “Power Suit.”  Now tell me, who is not going to listen to you in that high tech conference room, when you’re wearing not just one business shirt but two?  I just die laughing when I think how silly that is, but it is so very true! Choice number 2, in picture #2, time to go exotic and catch that man with the knotted sleeve front.  I’m not going to do my second pun, but go figure.  Number 3, in picture #3, but not the last choice, red front or black front, your pick.   This expresses the edginess of youth and lack of conformity.  The asymmetry will always give you a feeling of being off balanced and will set everyone guessing on who you really are! There are more choices to how to wear the ShirtSkirt™; it is for the wearer to explore.

So there you go, the physical voice of theFrancesca oh!  Upcycled Experience Classic ShirtSkirt™.  Until my next blog entry.

Photographer: Ehrland Hollingsworth
Model: Kerah Cottrell

16 Responses to “Why Fashion”

  • Way to go Francesca! I do like your skirts. They make me smile.
    How smart of you to start a new “thing” or in your case reviving an old “thing” before the empty nester syndrome actually hits. I myself have been hunting around. I took a sewing class at Eddie’s Quilting Bee in sewing with knits and it was fun! I’ve never sewn a neck insert so quickly! So…. gotta get a serger! Any advice? Also, I found out that both West Valley College and Canada College have Fashion Design courses that I can take(without doing the whole program). I want to learn how to make my own patterns! Fun stuff….

    • That’s great Patti, if you need pattern help, you know where to find me. I bought a PFAFF coverlock 4852 from AAA Vacuum & Sewing Center, (408) 255-4762, aaavacsew.com, 19070 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA 95014. I’m pretty sure they give free classes if you buy one. If you decide to take them, let me know. I never got around to taking mine.

  • Francesca,

    I don’t usually read blogs, but after seeing that Dolores replied, I decided to take a quick read.

    First, was happy to get a fuller picture of the concepts behind your work, both now and then. I’m glad “this mirror” speaks!

    BTW, CCSF where I teach, has a Fashion Dept, and I know a student who might be interested in your “take” on it fashion from the “not your normal fashion” perspective. Keep it up!!


  • I love the thought of having a very “personal” look – one that is not walking around all over the place on other women. I also love the fun and creativity of it. I’ve donated so many of my favorite clothes and fabrics through the years, never thinking of re-purposing those much loved pieces. Looking forward to what you and other designers & artists have to say.

  • Francesca oh! You are what the world needs now. A voice to empower the individual. To see oneself in the looking glass & say “gosh darn I look good! This says me!” We all follow trends too much, afraid of what other people will think. Lemmings to trending & spending too much for the latest thing. We do this not only in fashion but just about everything else, tech, food, house, decor, cars, entertainment, etc. But wait, I think time’s are a changing. Now here’s good trend & a silver lining of the economic recession – austerity. We are repurposing & recycling much much more. Good for the earth. Francesca, it was inspiration that you started this blog at this time. We are now ready to listen. Keep your thought-provoking musings coming. I’m looking forward to your further blog entries.

  • Wow! You seem to be headed in the direction of being a real blogger. This looks great! Nice pictures and content. Go girl! You are so clever to come up with the whole theme and all.

  • Way to go Francesca! Looking forward to more designs from you. Next year, think about entering some of your designs in the high school benefit show.

  • I love your philosophy and I agree. I believe that we express who we are through our clothing. I like your repurposed clothing concept!

    • Thanks for you comments Leanne. This past fall I created a number of new ShirtSkirts (I wear the mini ones a lot). I even have a ShirtPants! That was a challenge to make. But for Spring I’m doing “Transformed Ts”. I’m planning to post the color group on my Francesca oh! Facebook page this weekend and sometime in the next week or so they should be transformed into dresses!

  • francesca – what a fun blog post! i totally agree that FASHION is “the most personal form of art.” i totally view getting dressed each day as a creative venture, a way to express myself.

    • Thanks April for commenting. Yes, getting up in the morning and playing dress-up and creating who you want to be is so much fun!:)

  • This is such an awesome topic— I’m hoping at putting together my own fashion (but I’m not bad at copying looks that I like—how’s that for a skill, copying!).
    I think the human body itself is Art… and so my line of work, wellness coaching, is sort of similar—how we are out in the world makes a statement about ourselves.

    • Thanks so much for commenting. Glad to meet a wellness coach. Can’t have enough of that in this world. Healing work is my second passion. I have a Facebook page called “Oh New Page Healing” The title is a play on words in that, in concept, “We” are always changing to a “New Page” every moment while we create ourselves and of course this is a “New Page” on Facebook.:) It is for posting holistic healing information, so feel free to post on it. Here is the URL http://www.facebook.com/OhNewPageHealing. Way to go with copying! That is exactly how we learned as kids and really it is so much fun!:D

  • What an innovative idea! You must have a tiny waist to fit those 2 shirt collars around it. I’m quite the boring dresser choosing comfort over style. But, I always appreciate those with a sense of personal style and the courage to where outfits outside of the norm.

    • Thanks Patti for commenting and in particular your comment I just love. No one has ever asked me about the waistline. I have to share this with you that this is one of the more interesting aspect of the ShirtSkirt design. Men’s shirts are sized based on their neck measurement. When they buff up as men, their necks follow suit. A medium collar is as around 15″-15 1/2″, so double that and the waistline is 30″-31″. This gives the wearer a lot of flexibility on where they wear their ShirtSkirt, on their hip (like a belly dancer) or on their waist (I also put hidden ties in the collar so you can adjust the measurement). Shirts can go up to 17″ so that would give you a 34″ waist. Thanks so much for asking.:)

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