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About Jan Etre: Refashionista

Recently someone asked me when I started sewing. I had to ponder that for a while until I recalled making doll clothes when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old. Six decades later I am still making clothes, and my love of textiles has morphed into refashioning vintage textiles into comfortable, easy to wear clothing for women, mostly vests and jackets. Also, I am crazy about indigo and shibori after a trip to India, where I was introduced to both.

I like to wear my values, meaning that I am concerned about the environmental and human rights impact of continually buying (and then discarding) new clothes. I prefer to celebrate my style with more signature pieces of higher quality. The materials are “found” rather than “bought”. They are re-purposed into new designs that are contemporary, attractive and comfortable. They can be loved for your lifetime.

Currently I am working primarily with vintage Japanese and African textiles. They were made to last hundreds of years; in fact, some of these materials are almost one hundred years old already, showing the refinement that only time can bring to a textile. They are no longer produced the way they were back then: technology, dyes, culture and shifting economies are constantly changing and the making of these textiles is no exception to the forces of change. Therefore they will become more rare. I feel privileged to be using these fabrics, which I honor by slowly and painstakingly redesigning them into wearable art.

I take great pleasure in whiling away hours in my studio and at my home sewing station listening to books and working with my hands. Life is good.