Natalie Purschwitz: Makeshift Project

Craft & Design

Almost 11 months ago, Natalie Purschwitz made her first pair of shoes out of leather and wood — “a rudimentary beginning” to a tremendous undertaking. Her self-made challenge, now 9 months underway, is a venture called Makeshift. Starting September 1, 2009, Purschwitz — an award-winning clothing designer and the founder of Vancouver-based Hunt & Gather — would only wear clothing she had made herself for one whole year. “Initially this may seem like a reasonable task,” she writes “but it will include all of my clothes, socks, shoes, underwear, coats, jackets, hats, bathing suits, accessories and anything else I might need to protect my body from the elements while trying to lead a fulfilling life.” As she set out, prototyping blouses and cutting out what would be sunglasses, Purschwitz was confronted with questions regarding the “rules” to her endeavor. Which materials were allowed? Did she have to make those too? What about accessories?

As a simple starting point I will say that my wardrobe will consist of anything made by me from either new or used materials. Materials can be reused but just altering something doesn’t count.
Rule 1. My entire wardrobe will be made by me out of new or used materials.
Rule 2. I don’t have to make my materials, however, I will aspire to do so whenever possible.

Thankfully, she has allowed herself a few exceptions, including tools and eyeglass lens. Her success, and her challenges, have been recorded for 272 days and counting. Purschwitz is generous in her accounts, detailing techniques and materials that chronicle the rigorous practice of making. Though she is a fashion designer, it has taken an enormous concentration of energy, creativity, and determination to complete such a demanding and personal task. I’m hoping for some kind of catalog at the end of this, where we can see not only the daily shots but each and every piece she created for the project. Go Natalie!
Check out the “Makeshift Store,” the Surprise! Surprise! Program. Read more on the Makeshift project here, and more on Purschwitz here and here. [via Teagan Tall]

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