There’s something incredible about the creative process. A spark of inspiration takes an idea from your brain to a sketch on paper and with proper tools you can materialize it into something tangible. It’s not until I find a sketch of a finished project that I realize how mind blowing it is to birth an object from my brain into reality. The only thing I love more than being an artist, is collaborating with other artists. Today I’m highlighting a collaboration with friends (Jenna James, an incredibly talented photographer, and AJ, who made her modeling debut) to bring my denim patchwork trench dress to life.

These location scouting photos were snapped in Downtown Seattle by Jenna James.

Jenna and I live in Seattle, so it seemed natural to photograph the garment downtown. Prior to location scouting, I would describe Seattle’s color palette as a grayscale. From the main roads, all you see are concrete sidewalks, concrete walls, and the occasional matching gray sky. Turns out there’s an entire world of color, texture variety, and a visual battle of nature versus concrete when you veer off course. I learned to look closer at Seattle’s grayscale for the beautifully intricate line work. My favorite discovery was a steep hill with adjacent brick wall, covered in ivy spilling from a vent of straight horizontal lines. Seeing the city through Jenna’s lens sparked a newfound appreciation for scenery I’ve overlooked while living and working in this city.

My patchwork denim trench dress, modeled by AJ and photographed by Jenna James.

We settled at a bar to celebrate a successful day of location scouting and regrouped another day for the shoot. I couldn’t have anticipated how I’d feel shooting in such a public place. I’m no stranger to wearing unusual things in public but the adrenaline morphs your outfit into armor. Since I wasn’t wearing the garment, it was interesting to experience the range of reactions for those passing by. It’s also such a vulnerable experience to have someone else photograph your work. If I were shooting, I’d work around perceived design or construction flaws but passing removing myself places the perspective of beauty in the eye of the beholder of the camera. I can’t help but be proud of the end result, looking back at what we all created together.

This collaboration will always mean the world to me. It’s my first true collaboration and I couldn’t imagine doing it with anyone else. I’m proud to have executed such an ambitious garment at an early stage in my fashion design “career”. I can’t wait to collaborate again to continue pushing myself, to learn more from the creative process of other artists, and for more chances to see my work from another perspective. I’m already sketching new looks for my next collaboration with Jenna. I can’t wait to birth a new idea and follow it through it’s final, photographed state. If you want to see more of Jenna’s work, find her on Instagram or visit her website.

*This blog post was originally hosted here on November 2, 2018. It has been re-written, with new images as part of a rebranding of What’s Upcycle.

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