Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An Upcycled, Unforgettable Thanksmas Q&A

The past few months I have been working on an "Upcycling, Unforgettable Thankmas" project with  a very great and lovely client by the name of Carla Rose Fischer.
Instead of using my words, Carla which is a great writer wrote about her experience while working with me about HIMANE Upcycling and how we met.

December 2, 2011

I first met Catherine in January 2011 at a Style with Glee clothing swap in Brooklyn, and I was immediately taken with the idea of Himane and its upcycling approach to fashion — using discarded items like umbrellas to make useful and fashionable clothing and accessories. But when Catherine mentioned that the skirt she was wearing was made from her late mother's blouse, I knew our paths had crossed for a reason. I had just lost my father to cancer four months earlier, and my mother was having a hard time still seeing my father's clothes in the closet each day. So I told Catherine that I wanted to make gifts for my family out of my father's clothes for the following Christmas. 

Carla Rose Fisher with her lovely father the well-dressed Anthony Arnone, stands with me at an ASCAP performance in NYC in 2001. (Picture, courtesy of Carla Rose Fisher.)
 Months later, I brought three bags of my father's clothes by her workshop, and we put together combinations of slacks and blazers and ties in order to create handbags, wallets and eyeglass cases for 18 members of my family. Catherine worked with me to come up with items that took into consideration the styles and ages of my family members  and the results are stunning. She kept the integrity of the fabrics, using every portion of each source item for the upcycled pieces.

Since I won't be home for Christmas this year, my husband and I surprised my family on Thanksgiving with the gifts. My mother had forgotten that I had wanted the clothes to see whether they could be repurposed. My entire family was overwhelmed, and thrilled. They were so touched by the idea, and especially by Catherine's handiwork. They cherished the items, with my brothers and my father's best friend (who each received wallets) saying that now they can "carry my father in their back pocket every day." My uncle even went so far as to hold one of the items up to his face and kiss it for luck, and he won $300 later that afternoon! That's just a fun story, but having these pieces made us all feel so special. Catherine really made 2011 an unforgettable Thanksgiving for us all.
Pants and Tie Before.
Pants and tie after as a clutch.

Ties before.

 Ties after, as eye glasses holder

Tweed Blazer

Blazer after as a messenger Tote.
Inside Messenger Tote

Messenger Tote

Part of Blazer into a small bag.

Envelope clutch, made of pants and tie.

Tote, made of pants and Tie

Tote made of Pants and Tie


The Ties

Wallets made of Ties.

Wallets made of Ties

Carla Rose Fisher with her lovely Mother. "My mom said these upcycled gifts (hers was a handbag and an eyeglass case) were the most incredible, thoughtful gifts she could imagine."

Carla Rose Fisher with her lovely family during Thanksgiving 2011.

What Upcycle with Himane does is already so admirable  taking something that once was of us and not only recycling it, but also making it better, for both the recipient and the environment. But more so, she has given me something irreplaceable. I'm comforted by these one-of-a-kind items made from the clothes he wore, and to have it be something functional that my family and I can use every day is a huge bonus. Now, a part of my father can travel with me wherever I go, and Catherine has made that possible. Through her hard work and ingenuity, she has given me the greatest holiday season I can imagine  enabling me to give lifelong gifts to those who remember their dad, husband, brother, grandpa, uncle and best friend. For that, along with Catherine's creativity and compassion, I am forever grateful.

Carla Rose Fisher, New York 

Carla Rose Fisher, once again THANK YOU, for your trust and free wheel to let me choose the designs and all the support and kind words. Honestly, I am writing those words with tears in my eyes. I don't think I will be able to express my feelings. While working in your items, I did not consider it as work, it was more like therapy for me. So I, myself will say again Thank you.

You can read Carla Rose Fisher blog here: http://saidandsung.com/operations/an-upcycled-unforgettable-thanksmas/ and to learn about her work as well.

Happy Holidays to you all.

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