Radically Rural Fashion Show

Real People, Real Clothing - Fashioning a Circular Economy

Emcees - A Powerhouse in Local Fiber - Katie Sullivan from Bobolinks Yarns & Me - Mary Ewell. (Kelly Fletcher Photography)

Missed the #RadicallyRural CONNECT event?

No problem! Check out the event, see the models, and read about the featured brands below. You'll get a taste of what we were up to and a bird's-eye view of the designs, connect with the makers through websites listed, and if you really need an item - purchase!


Shrimp & Grits served in upcycled oyster shells

The Goal of CONNECT 2022?


To create a fantastic annual Networking Event for the Monadnock Region. This year that meant showcasing local, recycled and upcycled food and fashion.


The entire evening event for well over 100 people, fully catered, created only two bags of trash. Everything else was recycled (beer cans/wine bottles) or taken to an industrial compost facility (all food scraps, cups, plates).


Everyone was given a drink ticket and a metal fork at entry. What a way to set the stage for a sustainable event! Each attendee was asked to use the fork to eat and drop it off on their way out for cleaning. Every other plate, cup, or bowl went to an industrial compost facility via Elm City Compost Initiative.

CONNECT only created 2 bags of trash - all else will be recycled OR composted back to the soil.

Denise Meadows from CC&D's Kitchen Market and her crew had a goal of upcycling and recycling food as much as possible.


What does that mean?


It means gathering unused fresh food from local restaurants to limit waste. Gleaning imperfect food that is still great, even if it isn't quite the right size or shape and thinking creatively. And by gathering such items, it means creating a menu on the fly. Denise and her crew did a great job and there was no end their inventiveness. They used oyster shells to serve shrimp and grits!


A special thanks to #cc_dkitchen for making the food experience as circular as possible!


During CONNECT this year we also had a locally focused fashion show. Nichole from Modern Saint Living and I worked with local designers to create looks for the runway that were relaxed and ready for everyday wear. Real people in real clothes for everyday living.


The Models

We were so lucky to have so many gracious volunteers to wear local fashions and uplift the conversation around Circular Fashion Economy. Starting from upper left across to lower right (Kelly Fletcher Photography):

  • Leslie of Windsong Acres Alpaca Farm wearing a Muriel's of VT cotton dress and Bobolink Yarns upcycled yarn scarf

  • Brenda wearing a Muriel's of VT boatneck cotton sweater and Urban Exchange blouse. She joined in to support Nichole of Modern Saint Living - co-coordinator of Fashion Show

  • Margaux wearing a Sashoonya hand woven sheep and alpaca fiber poncho with botanically dyed silk accents

  • Laura of Muriel's of VT wearing v-neck grey sweater made from local wool

  • Cyrus wearing a Material Return recycled fiber knit hat available for purchase. (He is also the all-in-one-piece garment machine knitter behind Muriel's of VT.)

  • Laura of Pipe Dream Hempworks wearing a one-of-a-kind, organic hemp and vintage cloth dress self-created as art for the body

  • Oh, and I'm wearing a shirt from Slow Process in the image above created from vintage grain sacks and antique notions, such as bone buttons. I'm also in a Solid State t-shirt from a NC Fibershed supported by the North Carolina Textile District.

  • And Katie is wearing a swapped dress (it's great when friends share!) and hand-knit scarf made from upcycled Northern Lights Bobolinks Yarn


The Businesses


Each business that participated in the Fashion Show has their unique take on local and/or sustainable fashion. And because resources are limited currently, not all the products are made entirely from locally grown and processed material.


When not, there is an eye on reusing textiles and vintage cloth that has already lasted lifetimes. And bringing focus to reusing everything, from textiles to buttons. Finally, these designers use natural fibers to enable a circular economy around clothing that can go back to the soil.


Let's Celebrate these businesses and when possible, purchase items that are really needed from them!


Bobolink Yarns

  • Creates bridges between fiber processors and farmers, enabling farmers to benefit from their sheep's fiber while Katie takes care of processing and selling the wool

  • Offers small-batch, breed-specific yarns from local flocks online and in yarn shops

  • Educates makers on the special properties of various wool breeds to make the best fiber selection for projects. Learn more on the About Page.


Material Return

  • Creates custom fiber circular economies for businesses

  • Offers recycled fiber products for manufacturing and garment creation

  • Demonstrates garment creation through the sales of knitted garments such as the winter beanie made from their recycled yarn


Muriel's of VT

  • Locally grown, processed, and created wool clothing

  • Timeless designs using Northern New England wool for use by men and women

  • Cotton designs created from recycled and organic cotton, saving a valuable resource - water

  • Want to learn more? Check out a previous blog [add link]


Pipe Dream Hempworks

  • Creates one-of-kind, artistic clothing that celebrates the human form

  • Uses vintage, antique, and upcycled textiles with a storied past

  • Uses organic and natural materials when possible and supports the reawakening of local, plant-based materials such as hemp and flax


Sashoonya

  • Creates hand-dyed garments without heavy environmental impact using botanical dyes

  • Creates place-based garments that honor the land, its people's knowing, and their connection to the local fiber


Slow Process

  • Recreates the male uniform with modern masculinity

  • How?

  • By re-envisioning vintage textiles as clothing

  • Creating garments with integrity of craftsmanship

  • Creating small-batch designs that are both enduring and personal


Urban Exchange in Keene, NH

  • Consigns clothing offering consumers name brand resales.

  • Live in the Monadnock Region?

  • Check them out the next time you are looking for fashion, save dollars, and be part of the #circularfashioncommunity.

  • Consider bringing your name-brand goodies there to consign if you are no longer wearing them!


These businesses are small and need our support to thrive. Holidays are around the corner, so don't forget these companies when looking for gifts that benefit not only the recipient but also our local economy, peoples, and land.


The more we purchase locally, the more we divest from businesses that are not moving fast enough to create a healthy global ecosystem around clothing. One purchase is a start - and so is mending, upcycling, and consigning your garments locally. Every garment kept out of the waste stream is a win, even if we need more than individual actions to change the tide of textile waste. It is never a wasted effort!

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