About Arts x Craft
Sustainability doesn't have to be boring.
I love to thrift. Growing up, I'd thrift my school clothes. I never felt less than because I didn't get any fancy new or designer clothes, I felt like I had a secret - my clothes were special and unique. I learned to appreciate used goods and my mom and I can spend hours in the local Goodwill or "Sallys" (aka Salvation Army). As problematic as Salvation Army might be, it has a special place in my mom's heart as they made sure her and her sisters always had a good Christmas since she grew up poor. Thrifting made me feel good because I knew the money I spent there could help others: whether it was HIV/AIDS research via Out of the Closet or a small local shop benefitting a women's shelter.
During college, I started an Ebay business (this was around 2007) called Refurb Clothing that would sell found pieces I'd curate and often "refurb": turning a patterned maxi into a mini, adding cool collars to plain dresses, or just cleaning up pieces that just needed a little love.
I had to leave this behind after graduation as I moved to NYC to work for a designer who made sleek, simple, menswear-inspired and tailored pieces with high-quality Italian knits, silks, and supple leathers. I no longer had time (or the room - have you seen NY apartments?!) for my own work.
As I matured, I noticed I didn't want lots of funky thrifted pieces of questionable quality (sure, that colorful polyester dress from the 60s is cool but crazy uncomfortable). I wanted solid high-quality pieces that would last with the occasional statement piece that makes me feel like a badass.
As the years came and went, I moved on to different jobs and ventures, and away from fashion. I started a skincare line, Cloud, and became a partner at a marketing agency. But I didn't feel totally fulfilled yet...until I stumbled on a pair of Stuart Weitzman boots at a Goodwill in Scottsdale and started to work on them...
I was also interested in being sustainable. I think if everyone replaced 10 trendy fast fashion items a year with 5 sustainable items, we could make a huge difference. However, I usually couldn't find looks from sustainable brands I liked - so much beige! I wasn't into floaty bamboo tops or light yellow organic cotton cropped pants. It seemed that I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for: high quality, one-of-a-kind thrifted pieces that would last. So I decided to create my own brand!
Arts x Craft is inspired by both galleries of unique art pieces and the craft movement of artisans using leather work, beading, and other methods to create handmade one-of-a-kind pieces. AxC curates and upcycles high-quality goods in a collection the way a fashion designer would for each season. Each collection is centered around a theme and each piece uses only discarded or used materials (scrap leather, vintage buttons, thrifted fabrics, etc). All pieces are created or updated by hand, whether via sewing or painting, hand stamping, branding and foiling, or simply cleaning and gently refurbishing.
At some point, I hope to present other makers with similar ideas for reworked and handmade products so if you are also a creator, "refurbisher" or upcycler of sustainable quality goods and artwork (if you paint on used canvases or created mixed media pieces with found objects, etc) I'd love to hear from you!
Faye and Baby Jane