The first Fashion Fiber Fest arrives in East Lansing

The first Fashion Fiber Festival took place this Saturday, the result of a collaboration between Seams Fabric and Woven Art. The event was a celebration of sustainable, local and artisanal fashion.

Vendors gathered in tents outside Seams, selling everything from handmade jewelry to skeins of wool. One of the vendors, Junk Male Treasures, had a table full of crochet phallic pieces, while Flock Home sold block-printed tea towels and baby clothes.

Many vendors worked with wool and thread, for the street was full of soft bundles of wool, ready to be spun; and a wide selection of naturally dyed yarns with vibrant colors. Michigan has a thriving wool industry, with a good climate for sheep and for the use of wool products.

Bridget Kavanagh owns Happy Goat Lucky Ewe Fiber Farm and Michigan Merinos. She has owned her farm since 1987 and is dedicated to creating environmentally friendly agriculture.

His sheep are sheared annually to harvest their precious wool and also apply “rotational grazing,” which means the animals rotate the pastures every third day to allow the land to recover from grazing. Animal manure acts as a fertilizer for the grass. This practice, among others, makes Happy Goat Lucky Ewe a carbon neutral farm.

Due to these sustainable practices, Happy Goat Lucky Ewe is also environmentally verified by the State of Michigan.

Why Knot Fibers, another of the suppliers present, uses Kavanagh wool to make yarn, and Woven Art uses Why Knot yarn to make its products, creating a sustainable craft and fashion chain.

Another objective of the event was to promote slow fashion and crafts. While fast fashion is accessible, cheap clothes are produced to serve the endless trend cycle, slow fashion is its opposite – focusing on creating products that are eco-friendly, attractive and sustainable.

Sarah Williams of Sarah’s Jean Sews sat in her tent, dressed in a colorful coat made from a spared quilt and surrounded by pillows, sheets and decor covered in fun sayings.

“I go to thrift stores or real estate sales and reuse things and use my embroidery machine to make it a little more sassy,” Williams said.

There was a ruffled apron on display that had the words “B —-, I’m the secret ingredient,” while a floral pillow on the table read, “We had c– in this room. . ”

Williams said she liked the “juxtaposition” between “swearing things with birds or flowers because it’s funny, but it’s also very liberating because I can say whatever I want as a woman. “.

Quilt coats were also offered for sale at the table, which began as a creative outlet during the pandemic. These coats are sewn from used quilts found at the thrift store.

Theresa Roach of Purl You Crazy had unicorn capes, naturally dyed yarn, and a “Hunger Games” inspired knit cardigan available for purchase. Her threads were dyed with a variety of items found naturally – from coffee, which produced a light brown thread, berries and blackberries for tender pinks and lavenders as well as avocado seeds for a muted brown.

Pokeberries are a weed found in many backyards and produce a natural pastel pink color.

“It’s fun to go pick all the berries, make the avocados and mash it all up,” Roach said. “It’s messy, but fun.”

Kamryn Whitfield of Color Square Vintage was another supplier who used upcycled clothing to create trendy new designs.

Fashion Fiber Festival attendees were encouraged to show off their own handmade clothing designs, and there was even a virtual fashion show for guests to participate in.

Additionally, there were several demonstrations for guests to participate in, including a carpet tufting demonstration by Downy Tree Art, as well as onion and nut dyeing and street printing demonstrations.

The Fashion Fiber Festival was a way for East Lansing to come together and learn about sustainable fashion and craft options and support local businesses. Many vendors have expressed their hope that this event will become annual, or even take place several times a year.

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