“Make What You Wear” workshops encourage “DIY Movement”

Taylor Smela
Staff Writer

IMG_0513Creativity is often overlooked in today’s fast-paced society. However, Valerie Beggs, a professional fashion designer, is hoping to increase confidence and creativity in the world through clothing design. She is the mastermind behind “Make What You Wear” workshops designed to teach people of all ages how to make clothing for themselves.

Valerie considers herself to be a “devoted creator” and wants to inspire people to not rely as heavily on manufacturers to produce their clothing. Valerie grew up in the 1960’s when many Americans not only mended their own clothing, but they typically also made their own from scratch. Valerie hopes to instill these values in today’s population and make them less dependent as consumers. She refers to this change in consumers relying on themselves to provide material things, rather than manufacturers, as the “DIY Movement.”

“Make What You Wear” workshops offer both private and group sessions that range from teaching beginner to advanced skills focused on clothing design. “Refashioning,” or transforming old clothing into a new look, is also a skill the classes focus on teaching to students. Valerie says that anyone is welcome to attend the class and “start experimenting, working with fabric, and let their imagination run free. It’s up to them what they want their clothing to say about them.” She says, “Once people get started in the class, they usually find it so satisfying to work with their hands.” Valerie says that many of the participants in the class find the class to be a “rewarding and uniquely expressive” experience.

IMG_1328People of all walks of life attend Valerie’s workshop in Williamsport eager to learn about clothing creation and design. Valerie says that although designing clothing enhances the “fertility of the mind,” younger students are often the most creatively uninhibited when designing. Recently, a young designer made a dress for Easter out of refurbished clothing. When asked if she had any advice for someone interested in designing clothing, Valerie said “Anyone can be a clothing designer, you just have to release your inhibitions, let your mind wander, and create.”

Big things are in store for the “Make What You Wear” workshops in the upcoming months. On May 7th Valerie will be hosting “Make What You Wear’s” third fashion show, called Strut. The fashion show will feature designs made by those who have taken the class and local couture looks. Upcoming “Make What You Wear” workshops include a “Make Your Own Tee Shirt” session and a “Fashion Drawing” intensive class taught by artist Joann Landis of Parsons and Fashion Institute in New York City. These classes will each be three hours long and begin in June.

If you are interested in attending one of the “Make What You Wear” workshops, classes are inexpensive and take place Tuesday nights from 6:30-8:30. The classes are held at the Pajama Factory in Williamsport on the second floor. Reservations for spots in the workshops are preferred. For more information regarding “Make What You Wear” workshops, contact Valerie Beggs at (570) 971-4606 or valeriebdesignlab@gmail.com.

Photos courtesy of Valerie Beggs


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