When perusing Value Village, one may not imagine that the makings of a red carpet-worthy gown could ever be found in amidst of racks of stained t-shirts and worn-out nightgowns. Sarah Jay thought differently.
The Canadian sustainability activist and stylist (who guest edited our November 2018 issue!) initially struggled when deciding what to wear the the annual event that’s been dubbed “Canadian fashion prom.” (She was nominated in the Fashion Impact category.) But inspiration hit in the unlikeliest of places: the bedding section of Value Village. Right as her eyes were skimming over the different textiles, “Obsession” by Animotion — aka the theme song for Fashion Television — came on the speakers. At the same time, Jay’s eyes were drawn to a silky pink bedspread. It was a sign.
“It was just a hilarious moment for me,” she laughs. “It honestly felt like the stars were aligning and it helped me to make a decision, because I could have worn anything, I could have designed anything.” Instead, Jay worked with material that already existed, rather than source a new textile.
“Fashion is infinite. We are bombarded with options. How do we navigate from infinity?” Jay says the combination of knowing what suits her body type, as well as making her her outfit aligned with her personal sustainable, cruelty-free belief system were her starting points for creating this look. She then drew inspiration from the specific detailing found on the bedspread, and the lace curtains which she sewed into filmy pants. “I took a couple of cues from the pieces themselves; for example, there was a little peak and valley detail in the bedspread, which I ended up turning into the sweetheart neckline.”
However, creating a dress is no one-person job. Jay says she worked with a talented team of of women to assist with the creation of the upcycled dress. “I have such an amazing relationship with Michelle (Turpin) at Tailoress. She trusts my instinct, and she’s wonderful in terms of bringing my ideas to life,” she says. Jay preaches the value of having a good tailor to ensure your wardrobe fits perfectly, stressing that clothing should be an “investment” rather than something you buy to wear it once after you’ve snapped a pic for Instagram. She defines luxury for herself in terms of being able to collaborate with her friend on a unique, bespoke dress, rather then paying thousands of dollars for an off-the-rack designer brand.
It is rare to see upcycling done in the realm of formal wear, where most people purchase a dress specifically for one occasion. But Jay challenges the idea of wearing an outfit once. Although her CAFA outfit was distinctive, she designed it as separates, so she could break up the pieces and wear them again in different ways in the future.
Jay advocates that one of the best choices that we can make in terms of sustainable fashion is wearing something that already exists. “There is the argument that sustainable fashion is more expensive,” she says. “But that’s where options like Value Village are so important, because reusing is the best choice we can make.”
The post This Red Carpet Outfit Was Made From a Bedspread Found at Value Village appeared first on FASHION Magazine.