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Local artist to display dynamic, upcycled clothing on Weaver Street runway

Photos courtesy of Adobe Stock and Unsplash

On April 12, models of all races, genders and sizes will bike, skate and walk down Weaver Street in Carrboro as a part of a unique, community-sponsored fashion show.

“The fashion show is unconventional in the sense that it’s not your normal run,” Marcela Slade, the show's designer, said.

The show will take place during Chapel Hill and Carrboro's monthly 2nd Friday Art Walk from 6-8 p.m., during which Weaver Street will be closed from The Spotted Dog restaurant to the Carrboro Century Center. 

Slade, who works across artistic disciplines, said the show is more of a performance or cultural experience rather than a debut of a new collection of clothing.

She grew up in Chapel Hill and attended the Savannah College of Art and Design, with a concentration in illustration and graphic design. Slade describes the work she does as multimedia, as she works with graphic art and painting on top of upcycled and sustainable fashion. 

As a young girl, she was a fashionista, and her mother, a seamstress, gifted Slade her first sewing machine when she was an undergraduate in college.

She began producing fashion shows in 2007, and this upcoming show will be her 15th.

For this show, Slade will focus on her upcycled designs, including base materials of jean skirts, dresses and large T-shirts.

The show's collection will also include cumbia skirts in honor of Slade's Columbian heritage. The skirts are often worn to enhance the flowing movements of the traditional cumbia folk dance from Columbia.

The layers and ruffles from cumbia skirts have always influenced Slade's designs, and she said that she is using the show as an opportunity to show them off.

The show will also feature pieces of merchandise from her good friend and local guitar legend Dexter Romweber to memorialize him following his death in February. 

“She’s definitely a renaissance woman,” Christian Molina, Slade's husband and a member of her production team, said.  “She’s not only a fashion designer; she does all sorts of arts and she’s always in contact with the community. She tries to be as creative with the community as she can.”

Katharine Whalen is a friend of Slade’s and a fellow artist. She will DJ — under her name DJ Money Penny — the show along with one of her bandmates, Austin Riopel. She said she definitely plans to play some Romweber songs to accompany the Weaver Street runway models. 

"We just bring crates of our record collections and just kind of go back and forth," she said. "I'll spin one, then he'll spin one." 

This will be Whalen’s first time as a DJ for a fashion show, though she has DJed at multiple art openings. Whalen will not only contribute musically, but also plans on participating in the show itself, along with her daughter.

Carrboro businesses and organizations also helped contribute to the show. The Spotted Dog is providing electricity and the restaurant Tesoro is sponsoring the show along with the Orange County Arts Commission.

“Everyone has put my poster in their window,” Slade said. “[Like] Wax Poetic and the barber shop — that’s really sweet."

For Slade, the main goal is catering to everyone in the community with her designs and highlighting diverse beauty.

Molina said Slade is also committed to sustainability and finding ways to spruce up old pieces. Her upcycled collection, which will be on sale following the show, features dresses made from old T-shirts or jeans embellished with fabrics she sourced from her extensive travels in Europe and South America.

“All her pieces are one of a kind,” he said.

The show will be a free public event and parking will be available in municipal lots and at the ArtsCenter lower lot in Carrboro.

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