Upcycling for a cause in Saugerties

The concept of recycling old clothing and fabric into new fashion or home décor is as old as the hills. In the post-Depression years, people made kitchen curtains out of used potato or chickenfeed sacks. In the ‘70s, many a pair of denim bell-bottoms that had seen better days was turned into a maxiskirt with the addition of triangular shapes of recycled denim fabric inserted into opened-up inner leg seams.

The only thing new in the practice of recycling old fibers into new objects of desire is the application of the term “upcycling” to the process. It has become the way to signify that something isn’t just made of virtuously reused materials (as in regular ol’ recycling), but is something that uses old materials in a way that kicks it up a notch: The idea of “upscale” is somehow inherent in “upcycle.”

On Saturday, January 26 from 12 noon to 4 p.m., upcycling crafters will be in their element at Fiberflame Studio in Saugerties, as the make-your-own mixed-media art studio hosts “[Re]fresh, [Re]start, [Re]new: A Day of Clothing, Creativity and Community.” The event is a collaborative effort between Fiberflame’s Christina Brady and Shea Lord-Farmer and Woodstock Design’s Robin Kramer, who, along with renowned fashion brand Eileen Fisher and its Green Eileen recycled clothing initiative, will collectively host a fun afternoon of crafting with recycled materials and a spring preview fashion show and trunk sale, with the proceeds to benefit Hope’s Fund, a nonprofit organization in Ulster County that serves women in need.

Fiberflame Studio will have upcycling crafting stations set up for attendees to make something special using recycled clothing, and the spring preview fashion show by Woodstock Design will feature new Eileen Fisher items modeled by locals, as well as recycled items from the Green Eileen initiative available for purchase at affordable prices.

The idea for “[Re]fresh, [Re]start, [Re]new” came about when Robin Kramer of Woodstock Design was planning an early spring fashion show featuring the Eileen Fisher brand at her boutique. When Kramer learned that nearby Fiberflame Studio was planning a crafting collaboration with the folks from Green Eileen, the innovative new branch of the socially responsible Eileen Fisher company, she decided instead to join forces with the women at Fiberflame to present a unique afternoon of shopping, crafting and camaraderie for all ages.

It’s planned to be a midwinter “fashionable and artistic respite,” as they word it, “with an eye on Mother Earth,” and done in a way that allows them to give back to the community. Proceeds raised through “[Re]fresh, [Re]start, [Re]new” will give a new beginning to three clients of Hope’s Fund, anonymously providing them with clothing and makeovers to assist the women in finding new jobs.

Efforts to be as “green” as possible will be rewarded: For every gently worn Eileen Fisher garment brought in and donated that day, attendees will receive a tax receipt and a $5 thank-you gift card from Eileen Fisher, Inc., plus an extra $5-off coupon to spend at Woodstock Design.

“[Re]fresh, [Re]start, [Re]new: A Day of Clothing, Creativity and Community,” Saturday, January 26, 12 noon-4 p.m., free, music & refreshments, Fiberflame Studio, 1776 Route 212, Saugerties; (845) 679-6132, www.fiberflamestudio.com, https://hopesfund.org.

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