Local Designer Plans Green Awakening for Couture Design Challenge
Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Updated: Friday, July 20, 2012 14:07
A local designer is defending the environment, one graphic T-shirt at a time.
Scott Allison wanted to make a living doing something he believes in, so he decided to start a green apparel company called Artizen Apparel. Allison’s brand features T-shirts he designs that are fashionable and environmentally friendly.
“I wanted to give people the option to buy something that is cool and good for the planet,” he said.
Allison will be one of the local designers participating in this Thursday’s MAD Couture Challenge, an event that will showcase the work of several designers, paired with some of Mill Avenue District’s stores for a design competition and fashion show. The event is part of the district’s Third Thursday, and the competition requires designers to use recycled items to create their pieces.
Allison said when he heard about the show, he immediately had an idea.
“I used to have this merchant’s account and they gave me all these gift cards,” he said. “I’m not using that merchant account, so I had all these cards. I’m cutting them up and making them into a skirt for a dress.”
Although he has never made a dress before, Allison said that won’t deter him from the challenge.
“I thought that was kind of funny, and it’s an interesting way to use something I have no idea what to do with,” he said.
Julie Kent, a board member on the Downtown Tempe Committee and owner of Tempe boutique Here on the Corner said the event is all about giving back and supporting local designers.
The DTC was “looking for designers, and since I carry a lot of local designers I was able to provide them with several. Then I offered to have the reception here for the awards,” Kent said.
When you support your local designers, you support your local economy, the environment and morale, Kent added.
“It teaches people that there's other ways of giving back,” she said. “Instead of just writing a check to somebody, you're also helping people with their dreams.”
Allison said his goal is to get more people involved in preserving the environment through green business practices, which was new to him until opening his shop in downtown Tempe.
“I had already been eating organic food and stuff like that, but I didn’t really know much about cotton until I started researching and getting into the apparel business,” Allison said. “Cotton, actually, is a really dirty product as far as a chemical footprint is concerned. Agriculturally, the plant that we grow that uses the most chemicals is cotton.”
Allison thinks all businesses will end up “going green” in the future.
“If we keep destroying everything and not replacing it, we’ll run out of stuff. It’s basic math,” he said.
For the competition, all designers are using some material that’s been lying around their shop.
“That’s cool, because it gets you thinking outside of the box, like, what can we use for things?” Allison said. “It’s gotten me thinking about other ways I can use materials around my store.”
For example, he wants to find alternate uses for shirts messed up in the screen-printing process.
“If people think about the way that resources are used for things and there’s somewhere that stuff can go, I think that there’s ways to do all kind of cool things with recycling and being fashionable at the same time,” he said. “People just need to start thinking about creative ways to do it.”
In addition to his design for the fashion show, Allison said he will display his T-shirt designs.
“My latest kind of imagery that I’ve been working with is alarm clocks because I think that it’s time for people to wake up, because doing things the way that people have been doing it doesn’t seem to be going down a very good road,” he said.
Allison’s motto in the fashion industry is: live cleaner and continue to live.
“It sounds a lot better to me,” he said. “I like this place.”
MAD Couture Challenge, Fifth Street and Mill Avenue, Tempe, 480.355.6060, Thursday, May 17, 5 p.m., free