What do vintage swimsuits, pillowcases, doilies, silk linings, leather cords and coffee grounds have in common? Each can be found in handmade items available at The Moon (447 25th St. Oakland, www.themoon-oakland.com) a “slow-fashion” Oakland clothing boutique. Each piece of clothing in this hip local gallery is fashioned from repurposed material such as lace and crocheted fabric.
Shop founders Cory Gunter Brown and Cassidy Hope Wright focus on scavenged and donated materials to create an alternative to the fashion industry. Oakland locals both, the two learned all about the wonder of plant dyes from Bay Area local designers Sasha Duerr, Angelina DeAntonis and India Flint.
Another unique aspect of The Moon is its focus on seasonal, natural plant dyes, which Brown says are nontoxic to the wearer, gentle on the fibers being dyed and without the chemical waste of synthetic dye processes. The plant dyes work best on natural fibers, including silk, wool, cotton and hemp, making for clothing that allows the body to breathe and requires less washing. Spring brings fennel and oxalis (sour grass) for yellows and greens. Fall brings maple leaves and blackberry (fruit and leaves) for silvers and gray-blues. The owners even use onion skins, carrot tops and coffee grounds for dye — items which would otherwise go straight to the compost pile.
Wright studied textiles at California College of the Arts in Oakland, and Brown studied fashion design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Using their separate backgrounds, they collaborate to push forth their creative antithesis to the modern fashion industry.
“We have both mucked about creatively with clothing and textiles among other things for as long as we can remember,” says Brown. “The people of Oakland are and always have been deeply passionate and creative. It’s a place where many different facets of culture and humanity come crashing together. We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Open 1–5 p.m. Saturdays, 6 p.m.–10 p.m. First Fridays and by appointment.