June 21, 2019
Upcycled Fashions Designer
Arc’s Value Village is a leader in the local sustainability movement and recently participated in a fashion show. The designers presented their new creations made from pieces donated by Arc’s Value Village. The Red Affair event was all part of a larger philanthropic initiative to raise funds for teenage homelessness and Avenues for Homeless Youth, and Richard Moody of IamMoody and The Jungle Red Salon put on amazing event, fashion show and all.
We had the opportunity to talk to one of the designers, Judy Cooper Lyle:
AVV: HI Judy! Thank you for speaking with us today. Tell us about your company and how you got started!
JCL: HI! My company name is Phyllis Productions / Phyllis Designs. Phyllis was my mother’s name and she introduced me to sewing on her 1927 treadle, which I still use! I grew up on a farm in North Dakota and graduated from Moorhead State University with a major in theatre arts. Growing up I was in 4H and a lot of my sewing was taught to me by Bea Bailey, a neighbor woman.
AVV: How would you describe your work?
JCL: I create one-of-a-kind wearable art. For The Red Affair, I created a caftan and long kimono jacket from six infinity scarves. I drew the design out and spent hours cutting it, planning and carefully for the pattern to lie symmetrically. This piece is a unique blend of Asian and African design.
AVV: Do you usually upcycle designs you did for The Red Affair, or was this the first?
JCL: I do a lot of upcycling, and I get much of my material from Arc’s Value Village!
AVV: Where do you get your inspiration?
JCL: My designs draw from my training in costume design, and are influenced by Asian and African designs with a nod to the famed Deco Designer Erte.
AVV: What was it like creating a look for a fashion show and a model? Which, by the way, it was serendipitous that you were paired with our model Daesia, who modeled in our spring style show ‘Embrace Your Style!’
JCL: I enjoyed the project very much. I have been fortunate to have been a guest designer in L.A.’s Fashion Week, as well as several Minneapolis shows. It’s very exhilarating!
AVV: What do you do when you’re not sewing?
JCL: I run the Urban Spectrum Theatre Company, now in it’s 45th year. We are in rehearsal for “Eartha!”, a show about Eartha Kitt, which will go onstage September 26 – 29 at the Phoenix Theatre in Minneapolis.
Judy Cooper Lyle
612-379-0108 – Studio
Models: Daesia Johnson, Berniece Jefferson