I first met Audrey Acosta, one of the kindest designers ever, in Spring 2009 at the Whole Earth Festival in Davis California. I was charmed by all of her colorful one-of-a-kind dresses. In an internship with her, she explained that she traveled to India once a year and hand-picked recycled silks to use for her collection. She laid out her dress patterns to avoid stains or rips that were in the gently used silks. She sewed along with Indian seamstresses to manufacture her dresses to sell in the U.S. Audrey currently travels to different festivals throughout the West Coast to sell her dresses and also sells them to boutiques throughout the US. She builds strong relationships with her customers by interacting with them at these festivals and telling them her story.
Below are Audrey dresses that my sister and I have accumulated over the past few years. Since the dresses are one-of-a-kind they always make me and my twin sister, Nidia, feel special and unique. We love to wear them throughout Spring and Summer and get so many compliments. We have also developed several memories with the dresses that lead us to love them even more.
Emotionally Durable Design
These narratives will continue to develop as I wear Audrey’s dresses throughout my spring and summers in Ithaca. I will miss seeing her every Spring during the Whole Earth Festival in Davis, but at least I have long-lasting memories of her work and her cheerfulness as motivation to continue to give life to her wonderful clothing.
Ithaca has so many thoughtful designers and artisans. I think that my desire to learn more about the local farms, farmers and learning how to knit among a local knitting group is a way that I figuring out what makes Ithaca special for designers and consumers. How can I and others appreciate Ithaca for its true value in light of its natural treasures? I was extremely drawn to Audrey because of her optimism and how she promotes a gift economy.
I feel that animals naturally evoke positivity and innocence with their large eyes and of wondering gaze. The sheep, goats, and alpaca that I have seen are extremely adorable and I would love to have some one day to develop relationships with them. I appreciate that these amazing animals can produce fibers to keep our bodies warm and contribute to our well-being (although this was not the original intention). The animal’s natural growth of hair for yarns and clothes emulates the idea of gift-giving. These animals provide us with a valuable gift that we must appreciate beyond the few months that wearing wool, alpaca, or angora fibers is trendy.
Clothing made out of animal fibers must NOT be treated like fast-fashion clothing where it can simply be donated to someone else, or thrown away, it must be used for as long as possible. The embodied energy required to produce the fibers, yarns, and the garment must be surpassed with extended consumer use. Being able to pass down the garment to future generations would give the clothes more meaning and help in the development of personal narratives with the clothes.
Although Audrey’s dresses are not made of animal fibers, my relationship with her clothes in the last 4 years has led me to develop a strong desire to extend these relationships with my other clothes.