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Eco-Fashion Workshop Held at Sachem Library Proves it's Easy Being Green

Fashion designer Kathryn Hunt focused on how to recycle, repair, revamp and reuse with style.

Kathryn Hunt, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, and owner of the East Northport based iKat Gear brought her Eco-Fashion Workshop to the  this week. 

Her hour-long presentation detailed how to recycle, revamp, repair and reuse by extending the life of your garments and learning simple techniques to update and reinvent them. The seminar was an ideal way to assist many in achieving a new beginning in 2011.

Whether your New Year's resolution is to be more eco-conscious, get organized, spend less, find new outfits to wear after your New Year's fitness regimen pays off; or you want to make a great first impression when trying to snag that dream job or find a mate, Hunt had plenty of helpful hints to get you started off on the right foot.

"It's about what you're buying, where you buy it, how you dispose of it:  It looks at the full life cycle," said Hunt.

The timely workshop was filled with a back to basics, yet innovate approach, diagramed on about 80 different slides.

One of the key themes Hunt tried to get across to listeners is that being green in your wardrobe translates to having more green in your wallet.  She encourages savvy shoppers to take an inventory of what is already in their closet before going out to purchase anything new that may prove superfluous.

"Even magazines are getting on the kick; they want to see the same piece worn three different ways," explained Hunt." It's really trying to get the most out of what you have."

The eco-entrepreneur's philosophy encompasses every facet of life, not just what you're wearing.  "It's more than a fashion statement; it's kind of a lifestyle being green ... It's being mindful, thoughtful, sensible in approach, not just in fashion," she said.

Hunt underscored that simple changes made in everyday life such as cleaning with vinegar and baking soda instead of harsh and expensive chemicals, bringing a canvas bag to put items in when shopping and not wrapping things in tissue paper can make a big difference in the long run.  Also stressed was the importance of buying locally to strengthen the area's economy, and allow for maximum efficiency.

The lessons imparted really relate to what many are finding it necessary to do these days:  Cut back on waste and learn to live more simply.  "If you buy a ton of stuff and not wear it, it keeps this hyper-consumerism going," said Hunt.

The frugal fashionista said one of the most important things you can do is wait to buy something, in order to reduce impulse purchases.  Instead of rushing to the checkout counter the minute something catches your eye, pause, take a moment, and decide if this is something that you really want or need, and whether — or not — it fits into your life and budget.

"It's little changes in daily habits, replacing bad habits," said Hunt.

The iKat Gear owner recommends spending on investment pieces that are going to last, and to avoid buying too many trendy items.  She said, "If you buy quality and it's made to last, there are pieces that stick around in a closet, no joke, 10, 20, 30 years ... The idea is to get dressed, get out of the house and do something fun.  I'm not too into trends."

Hunt also described different basic sewing techniques, and reminded that the library is a great resource to help you get started.  She said, "You can learn how to make couture high-end stuff, real quick fixes and everything in between."

For those who are looking for a fresh approach to fashion, she suggested clipping images that grab you from magazines to develop a signature look.  "It can be as edgy, or as modern or as old fashioned as you want it to be:  It's whatever you want it to be," said Hunt.

If you're in awe of how celebrities always appear so put together on the red carpet and at events, that's because they all have stylists — and now you can too.  In addition to several different workshops, iKat offers a selection of personal services to fit any occasion or budget.  The line also produces apparel, jewelry and home fashions, all handmade in New York by the designer.  To find out more information Email Ms. Hunt at Contact@iKatGear.com or call 631-261-3693.

Hunt left the audience with this main point to consider:  "You don't always have to be purchasing, buying the new thing.  Maybe, see, if there's another option.  Overall, it's taking care of what you have and making it last."

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