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Mitra Chester and Maiya Becker

"My parents started an arts co-op in Boulder in the 1970s," says Colorado native Mitra Chester, who studied anthropology and religion at CU-Boulder, then moved to Austin, Texas, and got married. She worked in clothing resale and began to design clothes. She and her husband Aaron did some research, chose Eugene for its cool climate and cool people, and moved here in 2003. They ran two boutique resale stores, Deluxe and Kitsch, and she put on a yearly local fashion show, beginning in 2007. When the couple split up in 2013, she became St Vinnie's first in-house designer. "The position was created to up-cycle waste resources," says Chester, who has installed a DIY department in one store and an upcycled clothing shop in another. Last year, she produced St Vinnie's Metamorphose Design Challenge Fashion Show. Designers had six weeks to make three outfits from recycled materials, to be judged by the audience. For this year's second annual Metamorphose show, she has invited Maiya Becker, board president of MECCA, the Materials Exchange Center for Community Arts, to add an art challenge. Participants have selected a discarded art piece from SVDP's collection. "They create a new piece, so that the existing art is still visible," explains Becker, a fiber artist who began volunteering with MECCA during her rain as Eugene Slug Queen Sadie Slimy Stitches in 2012. Cash prizes will be awarded and artwork auctioned at the Metamorphose Fashion and Art Show, scheduled to honor Earth Day on Saturday, April 18, 6-9 pm, at Oregon Wine Lab, 488 Lincoln Street in Eugene, with music by Mood Area 52.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 16 April 2015

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