This is Me - GREEN
I know one has to be careful about what and how you market your business as ‘green’. I believe honesty and transparency should be in the DNA of every business.
My initial understanding that there was a green benefit to my wearable art started when I was asked about it by one of my first clients, Lynn Johannson, President of E2 Management Corporation. Lynn is in the business of helping companies large and small ‘green’ their businesses, including greening the world of finance. This is her life’s work and it has taken her to over 80 countries.
She questioned me about my techniques and processes that I used. She really liked how I balanced ‘thinking and sewing green’ with my artistic approach. She is not exactly a wallflower this girl, so wearing something very different that aligned with her core values really suited her. She continues to check in on my progress when she can, and I am grateful for this.
Here’s what I have done and what I intend to do to keep the process of greening moving forward to create original wearable art for originals.
Material Efficiency: The very first coat I ever designed was made out of remnants from an upholstery business. Being efficient with fabric has always been of great importance to me. The collage process usually enables me to use discrete pieces left over from an initial body of work, so I can incorporate them into other designs. If possible, I leave very little to waste. Sometimes when I am finished, the pieces are so small, they are the size of snowflakes.
Innovating Green: The best way to be green is to incorporate it in the design phase. I have evolved a process where I take my remnants, and sew them together to create new fabric. I am also starting to be more fearless about cutting into discarded clothing, using what I can to make a new, unique wearable.
The most exciting venture for me at the moment is designing originals for originals using handmade treasures that were first created through needlework.
Two perfect examples of this – the first was my award-winning jacket I called “A Woman’s Heart”. The second was a coat I called “Poppy Poetry”.
Divine ReDesign: This was an innovative line I started a few years ago. I collect quality jackets and tops that have had a life, but have more life to give. I modify them to instill the creative flair and the originality that makes them a “Bonnie Glass”. Each as unique as are my clients.
My UPcycling gives them a renewed life, a fresh look and this allows me to offer them at a preferred rate, which is something that my clients appreciate.
Energy Efficiency: To reduce my carbon footprint, starting in 2009 I made a huge shift in my business. I stopped having custom work my core business, as it had me constantly driving all over southern Ontario looking for specific materials. I now focus designs on ready-to-wear originals from materials in my extensive inventory.
A surprising new source of material comes from gifts of legacy fabrics from clients. The unexpected benefit is that it has challenged me to be more creative and productive. I also moved to a new location and brought my studio home. These actions have helped me reduce my fuel consumption and lower my greenhouse gas emissions. Even a tiny business like mine can feel positive about having a lower carbon footprint.
Life Cycle Thinking: I now launder some of my fabrics in order to preshrink them. This means that once the garment is finished they can be washed and hung to dry instead of being dry-cleaned. This benefits my clients more than me as it reduces their cost of care and chemical footprint.
One critical feature of my wearable art is its timeless design. It is beauty-driven, not fad driven. I’ve been told that clients brag about the ageless beauty and durable nature of their coats.
Quality over quantity wins the day in my book. All originals for originals are individually created. Each piece is designed using quality fabric and enduring construction. My commitment is to create wearable art that will bring joy for years to come.
Consignment Service: My consignment service; who knew that this would become such a great success? I never would have guessed this would become so appreciated by my clients! What they have told me is that a ‘Bonnie Glass’ is delightfully durable, and always in fashion. It is heartwarming to know there is a second home for my originals, and they are sought after.