Thursday, February 19, 2004


Designer also minds

Beth Dover wears a stretch-denim bustier with recycled T-shirt cocktail dress. Her hat is by Kangol.

Recycling comes as second nature to designer Zana Tsutakawa, who grew up in Seattle where, she says, "They're very environmentally conscious. All of politics is tied to salmon rights, logging, owl rights, logging, whale rights, Native American rights. They're very concerned about the environmental impact of things."

With this in mind, her recycled clothing creations have the lofty task of "minimizing negative environmental repercussions and maximizing style opportunities."

"I have so many problems with the fashion industry because of overconsumption, working conditions overseas that are so terrible -- ugh! -- and unimaginative manufacturers making millions of the exact same thing over and over, and they've been doing the same thing for 10 years! I mean, what's the dill?"

But politics aside, recycled fashion -- in addition to "cleansing" the consumption process -- can also be fun, which Tsutakawa will demonstrate during her Akane Spring 2004 Fashion Show, taking place 8 to 10 p.m. today at Soullenz Gallery upstairs at 186 N. King St. It's free.

Tsutakawa started sewing clothes about 10 years ago while attending Western Washington University in Bellingham. Although she was a fine-arts major, she was drawn to the school's costume shop and the tactile nature of fabric as a medium for her art. She continues to have an appreciation for fabric, finding inspiration in textiles from Africa, Asia, even upholstery of the '50s. And while most people don't give a second thought to denim beyond its durability in the form of go-anywhere, do-anything jeans, Tsutakawa has made a loving study of its nature in its most worn state.

"There are so many beautiful patterns to it, like when you take out the stitching where it's been worn, and you see the shapes pressed into fabric. You can see the way the fabric molded itself around someone's body."

Tsutakawa has a following among Japanese fans willing to shell out $80 to $250 for her deconstructed creations, whether or not they buy into the designer's message about consumerism.

For details, call the gallery at 525-7757.

Here she wears a pink and army green hoodie with a recycled denim mini skirt.

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