Sourcing Materials

I don't really mention all that much about my materials and where I get them, except to say that they are about 95% recycled (thread is a bit difficult to recycle, though I do when I can!) So I thought maybe it would be interesting to talk about a bit.

I have three main sources for materials:

Philly AIDS Thrift on 4th and Bainbridge--A bit of a 'cooler' thrift store, with mostly newer (80's/90's) stock, honestly I do more shopping here for myself than for my work, but they have a nice little fabric/craft section where I find some notions/trim/tools occasionally.

American Thrift on 7th and Wolf St--A digger's paradise of moldy old crap from the varied people of South Philadelphia. A lot of truly bizarre stuff and dirt cheap. Lots of my leather/suede comes from jackets and pants I find there, as well the stack of tweed suits I used for the lone star cape last year.

I. Goldburg Army Surplus on 12th and Chestnut--The top two floors are just rugged work-wear stuff, Woolrich, Levi's, Dickies. The basement, however, is a mess of old, clearly used often damaged army surplus from across the globe. This is where a lot of the 'base' garments I use come from. Something about the wear and construction of military clothing makes me more comfortable leaving something of the original garment intact. Most of the clothes I get elsewhere end up completely cut apart and reconfigured, but the stuff I get from I. Goldburg is often what informs the shape of the final garment.

I generally try to cycle going to these places every few weeks, and I had a little bonus money from work, so I went to I. Goldburg on Friday, and this was my haul:
Two hats/balaclavas for patterning inspiration. I don't think I'll actually use them physically, in anything (except maybe to warm up my own head) but rather to get an idea of the shapes I need to get the sort of coif I'm looking for. Also a pair of absolutely enormous wool socks that are half felted already, and I'll probably just finish the job.
Grey waffle sort of knit thermal, very large. I like the cotton plackets at the neck and sleeves, and the roughness of the knit material.
Some sort of jacket liner, I think? It's grey wool, and the shape is really sort of like a Turkish robe, I definately think the shape of this will be kept pretty much the same, not sure yet what I'll be doing with it.
Another undershirt, I used one of the same sort for Leoh's undergarments, it's made of this sort of perfect rough woven wool.
These might be my best find in a while. They're white boiled wool pants. According to the tag, they're British Welder's pants--I've seen leather used for welding protection, but never wool. Though it does make sense, it doesn't burn well, and the boiled wool on this is very thick.
Look at those giant buttons! It's all very brutish--it doesn't even have sides seams (must have been a large bolt of cloth!) They just kind of amazing, I'm not certain what's going to happen with them yet, I'll have to ponder.

I don't generally post picture of garments before I break them down. Partially, I think, because I just forget. The other part is that my work isn't really about the before-and-after transformation--I'm not turning an oversized t-shirt into a babydoll dress anymore, the presto-chango aspect of it is sort of moot. It's more about clothing adapting from one thing to another, without the idea of improving (or, god forbid, the awful word 'upcycle') Not to mention it gives my work a more clear and immediate history that I don't necessarily want known when it's seen.

Just thought it'd be interesting to share with you folks for once, after all, this blog is about the process, it's not my professional portfolio.

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