Waste not, want not, Lindsay Jackson might say. Except we could tell right off that this woman is way too hip to go for crusty old maxims.
We met at her Westlake condo last week to talk about her start in the design field seven months ago, when she threw over a real estate career to make clothing from old draperies.
Destiny must have taken a hand--as fashion design was not something she planned or trained for.
"I took one sewing class in seventh grade," the new designer said, "I hated sewing."
But someone gave her a drapery remnant--and without a pattern, she made it into a tank top that changed her life.
"The first time I wore it I got stopped left and right. People asked if it was hand-loomed," she said.
That was all it took. It became the sort of venture that fires the soul, but appears so iffy, it may drive one's relatives to despair. Jackson began to search thrift shops for draperies, and set to work creating tunics, palazzo pants, fringed vests, tanks, skirts, hats. Her despairing relative was daughter Courtney, 11.
"She started getting like, pukey colors at first," recalled Courtney. "Now, she's getting cooler, and she gets brighter colors."
Jackson, whose company is Re-hangin' It With Lindsay, allows that her first materials were dusky greens and golds from the '70s. But she has since acquired a rainbow of fabrics, including many unused bolt ends too small for room decoration. She especially likes these bits because they assure one-of-a-kind garments.
She pre-washes these pieces to induce softness--but, still, it's the clothes that had former lives as draperies that tend to sell first.
Drapery fabric is what it is--casual, loose and fun--yet, the majority of Lindsay's customers are middle-aged or more, according to the designer.
She recalls a 50-something woman who caught up with her in a mall in Scottsdale as she was about to model a crop-top for a retailer, insisting, "I want that top!" Jackson sold it.
"I thought more mature people would have an issue with the concept, but they don't--they love it," she said.
In fact, the idea of recycling is one of the draws of her collection. She exhibited at Eco Expo in Los Angeles this spring, and soon after, the city of Thousand Oaks presented her with a Gold Wastewatch Award for reuse of materials.
Environmental stores in two states are carrying her clothes, as well as a boutique in Carmel and one in Monterey. Locally, her designs for women are shown by appointment at Eve Halpert's image studio in Agoura Hills.
Drapes came together for Jackson, so to speak. Just five months after her first effort, she was supporting herself and her daughter with sales. Now, she could likely go into production; but she's not ready for that step. She likes working with unique designs and filling custom orders.
Women can buy a piece or two from her collection, then order more to be made from swatches.
One such customer is Margery Spielman of Ventura, an environmental artist who completed the marine panels for the Ventura Pier. She has bought several of the designs and expects to acquire more.
"I think they're a work of art," she said. "Whenever I wear them, people exclaim over them."
Lately, even Courtney occasionally puts on a Re-hangin' outfit her mom has created for her. But it's more of an accommodation; the flowing garments are not her first choice.
"They're more for grown-ups," the fifth-grader says pointedly. "Anyway, I have my own style."