Improvised Life » apparel If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Thu, 13 Nov 2014 09:20:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Glue Gun Textiles and Couture Thu, 06 Nov 2014 22:37:33 +0000

Jonathan Leung

At Carnegie Mellon University’s yearly Lunar Gala Fashion Show, Industrial Designer Miriam Buchwald showcased COCOON, her line of dresses made totally of hot glue.

She didn’t hot glue fabric. She MADE the textiles out of hot-glue, which has expanded our view of hot glue’s possibility greatly, way beyond crafty Martha Stewart.  (more…)

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Halloween Mask Inspiration from Morath and Steinberg Fri, 31 Oct 2014 15:00:01 +0000

Inge Morath

Recently, we came across a portfolio of images created by legendary photographer Inge Morath in collaboration with the ever-illuminating Saul Steinberg. In the Mask Series. paper bags and pieces of cardboard totally change ordinarily dressed people into OTHER…. (more…)

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Annals of Hair Design: LaBelle’s Nightbird Platter-Do (with Music) Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:00:10 +0000


The Hair Hats in our recent Annals of Hair Design reminded me of the great “platter” do, Patti LaBelle wore when performing her album Nightbirds in the 80’s. I loved watching her perform it and wondered how she got that hair to STAY.

Years later, she came to my old studio for a photo shoot and I asked her how she got her hair to make those fabulous platters. (more…)

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GIF of the Week: Escape Packing Thu, 09 Oct 2014 22:01:57 +0000

The weather’s so beautifu, it makes us think of going on a road trip. Dave Hax’s fast-and-minimalist packing job begs the question:

What do we REALLY need to take with us?

via i.imgur

Thanks Holton!

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Primitive Modernist Body Art: Stars, Stripes, Zigzag, FAB Thu, 25 Sep 2014 21:00:08 +0000


We WISH that we could see people who had adorned themselves like this — with stars, stripes, zigzags, more —as we wander the city. Such possibilities. We envision the top one as wondrous tattoos. (more…)

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Artful Pubic Wigs! Wed, 24 Sep 2014 08:32:39 +0000

Sinnae Choi in collaboration with unnamed participant

We check into Improvised Life part-time support staff and contributor Sinnae Choi’s website periodically to see what the multi-talented artist is up to. We were amazed at the LOL beauty of the human hair merkins she collaborated on… And learned that a merkin is by definition a pubic wig.

Who knew? and… Why not?!!   Writes Choi and her collaborator:  (more…)

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Embroidery Fix Redux: Disguise Rips with Images or Symbols Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:01:31 +0000

Recalling Virginia del Giudice‘s recent post on using needlework to cover holes in vintage garments, Susan Dworski alerted us to an inspiring iteration on the theme of embroidery fixes: (more…)

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Our FIX for the Flawed Cos Backpack Wed, 10 Sep 2014 17:00:50 +0000

Sally Schneider

In July, we posted a compelling backpack we’d bought from the stylish COS site only to discover that its design was profoundly flawed. If you put all but the lightest items in it, its magnetic closure instantly popped open, inviting strangers to dip their hand into the bag and steal our wallet (image below).  In that post, we experimented with a possible fix by using binder clips. Since the approach seemed workable, during our recent break we hacked the straps and sewed on sliding holders. We’re proud to say our fix WORKED: a lesson in trying ideas out, and flexing our own untrained design muscles to make things better or at the very least learn a few things.  (more…)

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Huge Linen Shirt Becomes a TeaTowel Tue, 02 Sep 2014 18:36:53 +0000

Marella Consolini

This just in from our friend Marella Consolini (whose daybooks with custom covers we love):

A new improvised project! Jimmy bought a gorgeous linen shirt on eBay for pennies, that turned out to be about a hundred sizes too big. But I fell in love with the pattern and the quality of the linen. Rather than send it on to the thrift shop, I folded it up and put it in my drawer, certain that I’d eventually figure out something to do with it.

Finally it dawned on me: the back was big enough to turn into a small pillow case or a towel — yes, a linen tea towel, which I love best! (more…)

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An Embroidered Fix for Torn, Treasured Fabric Thu, 07 Aug 2014 17:00:52 +0000

Virginia del Giudice

We recently received another inspiring fabric fix from Virginia del Giudice, photographer and co-owner with Alejandra Agüero of La Percalina, a fine vintage clothing shop in Buenos Aires. 

Alejandra and I had a beautifully made maxi skirt from the sixties at La Percalina. We worked on it for days to clean and restore it and when it was ready to be hunged we found a little hole at the front!  I had to do something to rescue this beauty!

This is what we did:


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Sculptural, Dimensional Textiles—for Couture or DIY Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:00:05 +0000

Zita Merényi

We love designer Zita Merényi’s Provo-CUT collection of seared-and-soldered neoprene garments. Forgoing traditional draping and stitching, these pieces are instead constructed panel-by-panel, pleated together, and heat-joined into dimensional, puffy, future-ish jackets and cloaks punctuated by thick, raw seams and unlikely openings. The gist: synthetic fabics melt, so heat, not thread can be used to join the seams. (more…)

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Annals of Bad Design: COS Lightweight Backpack + Our FIX Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:01:02 +0000

Sally Schneider

When we looked at images of the COS Lightweight Backpack online and read the product description we thought PERFECT. Just what we’re looking for:

Made from a lightweight technical fabric, this cotton-lined backpack has an all-over print and fastens using a magnet and wide drawstring. Multi-functional, it can also be worn as a tote bag using the two top handles.

We ordered one and the harsh realities set in. (more…)

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Chic Newspaper Hat (Inge Morath) Wed, 23 Jul 2014 22:29:04 +0000

Ilse Bing

We love this curiously stylish newspaper hat that a new dealer wore in 1947 in Paris at Place de la Concorde. Captured by the great Inge Morath.  Dig the little ends turned up. “Chic” can be fashioned out of pretty much anything!


With thanks to Chris Eldredge! 

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Closet Strategies with a Simple Piece of Fabric Mon, 21 Jul 2014 20:00:05 +0000

Since when is it hip, slick and cool to lie in bed and stare at your clothes and shoe racks––no matter how neatly organized––when you’re rustling up romance? I’m talking about a very particular theme of design porn these days: highly-styled, out-in-the-open clothes racks that make me wonder: What would happen in this uber-neuter scheme if one dared to own something scarlet, purple or orange!  Is it old school not to want to have all your clothes in your face 24/7?


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