Burlap bodice with cowry shell detial.
Lately I have been researching more eco friendly materials and elevating their importance by incorporating them into high fashion designs. One of the most simple, oldest, inexpensive and eco friendly textiles that comes to my mind is Burlap. It is beige in color and has a large weave pattern, allowing burlap to have the ability to "breathe." Burlap is very strong and does not tear easily. It can withstand being exposed to water repeatedly and can be produced in many sizes and and widths according to need.
Burlap comes from the jute plant which was grown almost exclusively on the Indian sub-continent during the 1700s and right up through today. Though Burlap is though of as having a rough sac like textile and would be thought of as undesirable in contemporary fashions. I have set out to reinvent burlap and give it some much needed positive fashion PR. By experimenting with different finishes I have achieved new textures with the most readily available basic fabrics easing the coarseness and adding a fresh perspective. Burlap can also be dyed in many colors with a fiber reactive dye if the natural brown jute color is not to your liking. In the coming months I will be posting my results.
In 2010 I used basic brown burlap for the bodice of a 1790's costume I created for a fantasy character inspired by the Artwork of Edouard Duval Carrie. I collaborated with Edouard while working on the South Dade Art and Cultural Center opening, in which the works of Edouard Duval Carrie and myself along with several local Miami artists were featured.