SARANAC LAKE — Martha Jackson’s “Journey to Sustainability: Stories told through mixed media works” come off the wall, off the hangars, off the dressmaker’s form for a “Circularity in Motion” Fashion Show.
Her catwalk on sustainable fashion will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., Sunday, May 29 at BluSeed Studios, 24 Cedar St. in Saranac Lake.
“We are going to have a lot of fun, I think,” she said.
“It’s going to be more of an interactive show where with sustainability in mind, I want to help show people what they can do with items that they have in the back of their closet or if you go thrifting, how much fun you can have, and how much style you can create with thrifted items because to me that’s a way to be more sustainable for the future.”
Jackson is collaborating with Tori Vasquez, proprietor of Main Street Exchange, a consignment store in Saranac Lake.
“It’s a place to go like a Goodwill, only a step up to buy new things, buy secondhand,” Jackson said.
“I want to do sort of styling up thrifted items showing people what fun you can have. I also do what I call simple conversions. In other words, let’s say you see a pair of pants and the legs are too wide or they’re too short or the dress is too long and it looks old. What can you do in a very simple way to make them more stylish? You can cut the hem of the dress and make it a whole different look. You can do something different to the pants, so it becomes more fashionable or looks new again. So those are the things that I’m going to show at the fashion show, and Tori as well.
I will take a lot of the things I have on exhibit here at BluSeed, take them off the wall and walk them on the runway. I’ve got a volunteer bunch of great gals that will help us out.”
GOLD & THREADS
Jackson grew up in Montreal and Ottawa and attended the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, where she studied goldsmithing and textiles.
Then, decided to come here to the United States and relocated to Providence, Rhode Island.
“I found it was like the mecca for fashion jewelry business,” she said.
“I ended up staying in Providence and Rhode Island there for 35 years or so. I’ve only recently moved here to Saranac. I moved here right before Covid. Originally, my husband had a job opportunity in the area. We liked the area, so decided to move. It gets me closer to my family. I still feel like a new person in the area.”
Fashion jewelry was Jackson’s career for many years, until she stepped out of it and started her own business, Restored by Design.
“I’ve always wanted to do women’s apparel and kind of launched myself into doing collections with Rhode Island Fashion Week,” she said.
“I wanted to put my textiles together with my jewelry. I started designing things and opened up her brand, Restored by Design.”
Established it in 2010, Jackson really launched into the textiles two years a later and relocated from her studio to a retail studio.
“So I had like a brick-and-mortar that I also worked in as my studio,” she said.
“I did that for about five years in Providence, and then I moved to Newport, Rhode Island. and it was just pretty tough to be creative, have a store. I was teaching classes. It was a real handful. I found it was taking away from my creativity to be doing all those things.”
Jackson closed her store and just worked out of her studio.
“I worked with private clients as well and was still making collections and doing what I could, hoping that I would do a lot more online,” she said.
“I have to say that it’s been a tough challenge as well, but here I am today.
Her journey to slow fashion arrived from looking for companies over the course of many years.
“I saw a lot of businesses close,” she said.
“Originally, everything was made here in this country. To keep up with the prices and offer good prices to your customers, things were made more and more overseas. So, I saw a lot of factories close, a lot of talented people out of work because of this. I said to myself, I want to keep business here in America. Also you see a lot of waste with businesses throwing things away. That was something I really wanted to change.”
LOOKING FOR A COME UP
Jackson does a lot of thrift store shopping where she discovers amazing apparel.
“I decided to make those materials that I use,” she said.
“So I use up a lot of excess materials whether it’s vintage fabrics or factory excess materials. Those are the things I use to create with. I felt that I was really doing something good for this planet by doing so, keeping things out of landfills and really sort of paying homage to the past because I would be re-purposing them. So that meant a lot to me to be doing that kind of work. Nowadays, it’s becoming really valuable that you do something for this planet. So that’s meaningful to me, too. My work is contributing to making this a more sustainable future for us here using up all of this material.”
‘ART TO WEAR’
Jackson is not into high-print production, but considers herself an artist creating one-of-a-kind pieces that can viewed at www.restoredbydesign.com.
“Sort of art to wear,” she said.
“My style is kind of like a boho chic style with very feminine and romantic flavor. I absolutely love lace. I would be digging in places and finding all kinds of beautiful lace that I feel are just amazing treasures.”
It’s a feel-good thing for Jackson to take clothing that people throw away or have no use for and re-purpose it, reclaim it, give it a new life, and make it wearable again.
“That’s a pretty cool thing for me, I think,” she said.
“I sort of kind of made it part of my brand, part of my purpose, to be able to use up these materials that otherwise would go to waste.”
Jackson transforms trash into treasure.
“They do feel nice, I have to say,” she said.
“I just love the textile medium. I love to mix the textures and the patterns, particularly more on the delicate side of things. I like to sort of collage things together if you will with lace in there.”
Jackson has a textile arts studio and teaches classes at BluSeed Studios.
“It’s a center for artists,” she said.
“It encourages artists to come here and get involved and be an inspiration to others. I got some sewing machines here. I’m teaching a bunch of classes of this summer.”