Brenda Abdullah Designs: Recycled, Reborn Thrift Store Finds
The self-described “clothing artist” takes old duds made of natural fibers and recycles them into colorful new designs.
Brenda Abdullah, the force behind Brenda Abdullah Designs, has been designing and creating clothing and accessories for more than 25 years, first as a custom dressmaker now as a self-described “clothing artist.” She says she has always admired knitting, crocheting, quilting and painting, and she considers using repurposed materials in her clothing as a way to combine all these interests.
Ms. Abdullah creates gorgeous one-of-a-kind dresses, tops and jackets from a mix of recycled wool, silk, denim and contemporary and vintage textiles. She gathers unwanted clothing from thrift stores, intentionally trying to use as many natural fibers as possible. Once collected, the items go through a cleaning and deconstruction process. She then sorts the materials by color and lets her imagination and design skills take over.
According to the U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year. Clothing and other textiles make up about 4% of the municipal solid waste stream. Designers like Abdullah are making a difference not only by recycling, but also by educating people on how materials can be repurposed and why it is important to keep textiles out of landfills.
Her goal as an eco-conscious artist/designer is to create high-quality, unique apparel using repurposed clothing. Her inspiration is her “love of beautiful woven, knit, and crochet textiles, her passion for exploring color relationships, and her desire to assemble fabrics with the sensitivity of a painter creating pleasing visual compositions,” according to her website biography.
In October 2011, Abdullah’s work was included with other sustainable designers at Conscious Living TV’s 3rd annual Vert Couture eco-fashion show. The carbon-neutral charity event benefitted Keep Chicago Beautiful and highlighted the range of Chicago’s sustainable, fair-trade fashion movement.
To discover more about Brenda Abdullah and her stylish designs, visit brendaabdullah.com.