CARBONDALE — Give Molly Briggs a rock, an old T-shirt and some recycled wire, and she can fashion them into a handmade masterpiece.
“Thrift stores are full of old, unwanted materials,” she said. “So many possibilities and so little time.”
The Carbondale designer is just one of the Roaring Fork Valley’s multiple designers featured in the weekend trunk shows coinciding with the Green is the New Black Fashion Extravaganza. The Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities fashion show, at 8 p.m. Friday, March 14 and Saturday, March 15, is CCAH’s annual event to raise money for community arts.
“All the amazing people in the show and those who attend make it so great to be a part of,” Briggs said.
The artful fashion and trunk shows feature sustainable clothing and jewelry designs such as Briggs’ nature-inspired Ironic Dilemma line. Her handcrafted jewelry and clothing is made with repurposed materials such as random rocks, reclaimed T-shirts, computer parts, recycled metal, and outdated jewelry, often obtained in the most unlikely places.
“It’s amazing how many people are always giving me their unwanted treasures to turn into new and fun designs,” she said. “All of my designs are upcycled from found objects.”
With a creative mother as inspiration, Briggs said she knew early on in her childhood she wanted to design jewelry. Her mother taught her to respect art and nature, a life lesson she has carried on into her exclusive Ironic Dilemma designs.
“The love of the land has brought me a unique take on fashion,” Briggs said. “The highlight of my line this year is leather, chains, spikes and brass knuckles, featuring hand-painted and spray-painted bracelets and earrings.”
Briggs’ said her jewelry line evolves each year as she participates in CCAH’s wildly popular community fashion show. This year’s theme is an “Alice in Wonderland”-inspired “Down the Rabbit Hole.”
“I am inspired every year to go above and beyond what I did the year before,” she said. “It has helped me grow as a designer. As I grow, so do my designs.”
Briggs describes the trunk and fashion shows as Carbondale’s homegrown interactive art collective breeding creativity and idea sharing throughout the preparation process.
“I would say all the designers in the fashion show inspire each other,” she said. “When you get that much talent in one room, it just happens.”
Briggs said the trunk shows, taking place after the show Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and open to the public, are optimal for meeting fans of her work and to gauge interest in her pieces and ideas.
“I think it’s a great way to interact with people who just watched the show and saw your line,” she said. “There is a lot of positive re-enforcement that comes from the crowd.”
Along with Briggs’ Ironic Dilemma line, designers in the trunk and fashion shows include Deborah Lindquist, Pacha Play, Cyndi Buck Design, Astral Mechaniks, Melanie Finan, Indie Attire, Sadye Harvey, Li’l Skirts, Designs by M, Infernal Contraptions, July Five, MZ Bliss, Veszel, and Foxy Moron by Paonia designer Robin Paz.
Paz — whose clever clothing designs are sold at CCAH’s Carbondale Mountain Fair each summer — said she especially looks forward to featuring her work in the intimate trunk-sale setting before and after her designs hit the runway.
“I enjoy being part of the trunk show because it is an opportunity to get community feedback on my latest projects, as well as connect with other designers,” she said.
Paz said she will take the Green is the New Black recycling mission to its fullest potential in her spring line of hip, repurposed, wearable art made from everyday life.
“The highlights of my designs this year are using lots of ‘garbage,’” she said. “I used a lot of garbage bags, burlap sacks, shower curtains and a bunch of other stuff.”
Paz named recycling-focused fashion designer Joanne Berman as a major inspiration, along with valley designers such as Briggs and others.
“Joanne’s fashion inspires me, and her home decor is amazing as well,” Paz said. “What I enjoy about designing for the fashion show is working with great friends to produce such an amazing event that raises a lot of money for the arts.”
“I think it’s a great way to interact with people who just watched the show and saw your line. There is a lot of positive re-enforcement that comes from the crowd.”
Ironic Dilemma jewelry designs