Last week, Adam Arnold and I were discussing green design and how some companies are using it as a marketing tool. It's laudable to use bamboo fabric or whatever, but shouting about it at every opportunity seems a little...opportunistic.
That's when he brought up Frocky Jack Morgan, the label created by Portland designer Julia Barbee. I think his exact words were "Now she's sustainable. She makes cool dresses out of, like, garbage or something!"
Well, not exactly. But Barbee does take vintage dresses, deconstruct them and build them up into beautiful little works of art. A few wise words from Ms. Barbee and more photos after the jump.
A dress in the Frocky Jack Morgan boutique at Flutter:
Barbee's process goes something like this: shop rural and local thrift stores, find cute dresses, strip them down to bare bones and reconstruct them, using the original fabric and other vintage fabrics and materials. In the past, she's used antique peacock feathers and dry lotus leaves. "My background is in sculpture," she says, "so using non-traditional materials comes naturally."
The back of a Frocky Jack Morgan wedding dress:
Frocky Jack Morgan focuses on "special occassion", from wedding to fancy-party. Each piece is incredibly creative and totally unique.
I was happy to see a few plus-size pieces:
"Mass market is not the idea here," Barbee says, echoing a sentiment shared by a lot of Portland designers. "For me, success means making a living, renting my little room, and being free to do what I want." 2008 is the first year Barbee has been able to support herself exclusively off Frocky Jack Morgan. Part of the reason involves moving her studio out of her bedroom and into the back of Flutter, where she also sells the line.
The Victorian-meets-50s aesthetic of Flutter compliments FJM's pieces:
The best thing about Frocky Jack Morgan (besides being totally sustainable, a fact that she never mentions once, BTW)? The most Barbee has ever charged for a dress was $600, but most pieces go for between $100 and $350.