On Feb. 11, our Spring Fashion team — made up of stylists; photographers; hair, makeup, and nail artists; assistants, and yes, even a snake handler — spent the day at Session Seven Studios in Seattle making magic. We shot six looks, designed specifically for this project by seven local designers and made from upcycled materials. Each piece makes a statement about the state of our environment in six categories — animals, pollution, plastic, deforestation, ice caps, and recycling — while also gesturing to the negative impact of the fast fashion industry.
“I wanted to make a dress that resembled more than just animals, but also the delicate relationship with their guardian, their keeper: Mother Earth. She provides for them and is fiercely loyal to her animal children. She knows their fate is tied with hers, and as we see more and more deforestation and environmental damage from global warming, I envision her putting on her armor and being a brave, courageous mother, ready to protect her children.” — Madison Leiren, Leiren Designs
“Northwest Animal Adventures is dedicated to inspire a commitment for conservation, awareness, and care of all animals. We desire to foster educated decisions leading to the positive stewardship by the public of wildlife and their habitats. Please do your research on any animal. Ruby is an almost 8-foot snake and a fantastic educational animal; however, we rescued her when she was left in an apartment. A small animal can grow into a large animal.” — Tom Gaines, Northwest Animal Adventures
Materials: Thrifted bed sheet, three belts, Halloween spider web necklace, upcycled jacket, leather strips, feathers, moss, wool, rhinestones.
“Oil spills create so much chaos in the environment: Not only do they affect the water, but they also are harmful to people who clean up the spills. Humans are at risk because spills can cause problems like skin and eye irritation, neurological and breathing problems, and stress. Oil spills also affect marine birds, mammals, fish, shellfish, and plants. We need to be more cautious and educate ourselves to do a better job preventing these toxic spills. In the long run, we will end up with a safer and a cleaner environment if we do.” — Deyonte’ Weather, Deyonte’ Weather Collection
Materials: garbage bags, white paper bags, pom-poms, plastic eyes.
“The layers of this dress are incorporated with one of my old, organza gowns from a previous collection. I realized I had kept all the fabric I had cut out from scrap fabric, which was not big enough to create a new dress, so I combined pieces together using a layering technique that references one of my husband’s favorite artists, Georgia O’Keeffe. It is my little humor and memory for my husband, who passed away recently.” — Devon Yan, Devonation
Materials: upcycled dress with fabric scraps (dress), old scuba jackets (coat).
“I did research and found that rainforests are cut down and/or cleared by burning to create land for agriculture use and to plant fast-growing trees for pulp and paper. The whole look is meant to be like a post-apocalyptic princess — regal yet deconstructed — using elements that show both strength and fragility, and call attention to this part of our climate crisis.” — Avi Hart, Nox Fashion House
Materials: upcycled leather that was originally a skirt (bodice), thrift store curtain dyed and burned at the hem (skirt), recycled paper (collar).
“I created The Lonely Iceberg gown, intending for it to represent our shrinking polar continents, and the sadness that comes with global warming. This gown has a beautiful, draped shoulder and bodice with an empty space that follows.” — Lisa Marie, Lisa Marie Couture
“Water is the single most important ingredient of life on Earth. The mother and baby polar bears, which were made from plastic bags, are chained to the ice cap. This chain represents the connection between water and all living things on Earth. We still have a chance to change. This is our last minute.” — Namiko Abloom, creator of headdress
Materials: two curtains from Goodwill (dress), water bottles, plastic bags, chain, crystal (headdress).
“Landfills are among the biggest contributors to soil pollution, so that made me think about how we could find better ways to recycle things we no longer use. I incorporated recycled items rescued from the trash before they were disposed of, as well as locally sourced recycled art supplies and materials, unusual found objects, some fabric, and various items from my personal stash of supplies. Up-close you just see the garbage, but when viewed from a distance, the various colors and shapes you see start to look like a piece of art.” — Camisha Jackson, Lunaversoul Jewelry
Materials: recycled fabric scraps, wallpaper, old tractor seat leather, milk bottle caps, curtain samples, vintage rubber stamps, shower tiles, metal cord cover from Boeing, and other found items. // Headdress is made of recycled bamboo skewers, created by Gene Juarez.
Style assistant: Endurance Weke; photography assistant: Isabella Richter de Medeiros; hair and makeup by Gene Juarez Creative Collab: James Todd (VP of Creative), Amie Trumble, Nicole Blair Sams (hair), Raquel Thompson (makeup), and Keiko Schrock (nails), genejuarez.com; model: Paris of TCM Models & Talent, tcmmodels.com; snake handler: Tom Gaines of Northwest Animal Adventures, northwestanimaladventures.org; shot at Session Seven Studios, sessionsevenstudios.com.