Carli Vergamini takes old jackets and other items and re-purposes them into a wild variety of accessories. A quote on her website reads “the best fashions are fringey & up-cycling is cool.” In this week’s Selective Focus, we get an introduction to what she’s doing. It’s worth a deeper dive into her blog, where she frequently makes updates about what she’s working on, and she highlights other businesses that she admires in a series she calls “Biz Crush.”
CV: My main medium of choice is leather. Specifically, re-purposed from vintage leather jackets. It happened as a mistake — I was fresh out of college and didn’t know what I was doing with my life. All I knew is that I wanted to make stuff, but I didn’t know where to buy the materials I needed to make the stuff I wanted to make. So I did what I typically do and got resourceful. I bought the first leather coat I could find at Goodwill, took it home and cut that baby up to smithereens.
To this day I still reach for the jacket over the hide nine times out of 10 (actually, more like 99 times out of 100) and have a whole closet devoted to specimens in various states of deconstruction. To this day I’ve saved a couple hundred eye sores from the fashion police (and a landfill).
I took a leather handbag course at the London College of Fashion in 2009, but tossed the idea of working with leather or purses aside for about a year before diving back in.
Once I graduated from college and began the hunt for a “real job,” I started dabbling in accessories again hoping to sell them at the boutique where I was working part-time. Along the way, I realized this was a better fit for me than designing under someone else’s label in corporate America.
Throughout this time my style, techniques, product offerings and creative voice have evolved a ton. There’s a great Ira Glass quote about one’s style evolving which sums up my journey to a T.
I love the creative challenge that comes from working with re-purposed materials. It sets a series of limitations that you have to work through rather than starting with a completely blank canvas and endless possibilities. Working through those challenges also leads to a greater reward. I love being able to see the progress of taking something ugly and discarded, then turning it into something that people are clamoring to get a piece of.
I’ve grown up seeing the rise of fast fashion — now it feels great to be part of a community that is trying to reverse that mindset. This brings about another challenge which is trying to do so in a non-pretentious, not-so-granola way.
Hygge Market at Makers Mercantile/Bailey Builds, 58th Ave. W. & Grand Ave.
March 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(Facebook Event Page)
Retail outlets in Duluth:
Makers Mercantile | 5727 Grand Ave.
Pichardo Boutique | 728 E. Superior St.
Trailfitters | 600 E. Superior St.
Wonderfully Made | 2218 Mountain Shadow Drive
For a full list of stores, please visit my website (cravebycrv.com/stockists)
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