Kara Quinteros’ graduate collection explores the notion of alternative fashion production methods by utilising the traditional techniques of bobbin lace to create community-centric, zero waste, soil-to-soil, ethical and socially responsible garments. Reflecting the conventional bobbin lace “sampler” strip, her lace garments are all white and feature both simplistic to complex motifs of romanic flowers and bows. Further juxtaposing the delicacy and utility of lace as a medium, artisan tanned leather and upcycled hardware are utilised to create a balance of classical femininity and utility. Tying it all together, her choice of strictly using locally and ethically sourced, fully traceable materials reflects the importance and beauty of community efforts in the future of sustainable design.
Teaching herself the basics of bobbin lace the spring prior to her senior year, she went on to learn from various lace guilds throughout the United States the different regional styles in bobbin lace there were. In each of these, she did a sample piece. Often times, these pieces would have featured delicate motifs such as flowers, hearts, butterflies, etc. Using the prominent techniques and motifs she had practiced, she saw the prominence of organic, natural elements in lace design. As such, she began to look to organic and natural sources for inspiration and material sourcing. Finding beauty in not only the lace of the communities she had worked with, but also the community aspect itself, she began working with local producers of both yarns and leather to create and learn more about their processes. These experiences served as catalysts for her final garment designs.
Working with locally sourced materials from individual producers posed the challenge of having enough materials to make what she wanted. With this in mind, she developed all of her garments to made by hand through bobbin lace techniques and precisely patterned to result in little to zero waste. Of what she could not use, she was able to readily compost as all of the materials she used were chemically untreated. Finally, due to the COVID pandemic, she turned to utilising old hardware and upcycling it to become useable closures and belt buckles. The decision to hand stitch and finish all garments by hand gives the collection one final blatantly hand-made touch, showcasing the one of a kind quality and personal approach it had in it’s production.
The end result is a collection of both elegant , classical lace juxtaposed alongside the raw utilitarianism of leather and upcycled metal. Kara Quinteros’ “Lovers Oath” collection serves as a catalyst to further creating along the values it was made through. Valuing and supporting community, letting nothing go to waste, creating with material impact in mind, and paying homage to the techniques and craft communities that have made it possible for her to learn about these art forms in modern day. Quinteros plans to further develop these values in the creation of a future brand, prioritising designing with purpose, respect, and beauty.