If clothes could talk, Sally Keiser imagines, her rack of brightly colored lingerie would have beautiful stories to tell.
Keiser has worked on a lingerie line made completely of salvaged materials for her first fashion show – Saturday at Sky City. She said that by turning faded old slips and bed jackets into new looks, she is conserving beautiful resources that might be thrown away otherwise.
“I have a piece from a friend of mine that her mother wore on her wedding night,” she said. “I like to imagine it saw a lot of love in its lifetime and it’s continuing on that path.”
She has sewn since she was 7 years old but said the idea of redoing lingerie came to her in a Goodwill dressing room about a year ago. She found a slip she loved and was thinking about how she could alter it for herself; she decided that vintage lingerie must appeal to other women, too.
“I just thought, I could do this. I could really do this for other people,” she said. “It was a huge epiphany for me.”
Keiser collected old lingerie, dyed the pieces in her bathtub and altered them into shorter slips, rompers and other styles.
Saturday’s line has been in process since August. Keiser said she’s had to learn the hard way how to put on a fashion show. There are 32 pieces in the collection, and 13 of her friends will walk the 25-foot runway that Keiser built.
Because recycling fabric is a huge part of Keiser’s creating philosophy, she hasn’t shopped at retail stores since 2009.
“It’s important to utilize things that would be discarded,” she said. “I haven’t bought a single piece of new fabric to make any of these pieces.”
The overarching goal of the collection, Keiser said, is to give women handmade lingerie that is comfortable and fun. She warns that if people come expecting a Victoria’s Secret runway show, they’re going to be disappointed.
“It’s about making women feel beautiful, not objectified,” she said. “How romantic is it that the vintage fabric has its own story and history? I think that’s important.”