Kylah Rail (left) and Lynn Polke (right) of The Repurpose Project discuss lighting and sound for their upcoming event, which includes a fundraising fashion show and a dance party. (Jordanne Laurito/WUFT News)
Robert Prescott Coleman’s ring wasn’t always a ring.
Before he wore it as an accessory, it was a spoon he found in an old box of family heirlooms.
The jewelry designer and metalworker draws inspiration from natural elements and raw materials to create unique handmade jewelry.
“I like to use whatever I can find,” he said.
On April 15, Coleman taught a class on how to cut, shape and polish copper pipes into jewelry at The Repurpose Project. The designer has been hosting workshop sessions every Friday since March 11, leading up to his most recent undertaking: a trash fashion show.
“Repurpose Project Runway” will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Repurpose Project, 1920 NE 23rd Ave.
Better known as Bobby Foxx, the artist will be one of the headlining designers at the fashion show.
Since the event is being held in honor of Earth Day, Coleman said he is using all upcycled jewelry for this collection. With just a few days until the show, Coleman is nervous to present his collection of eight full looks.
“It’s not as put together as I would like it to be,” he said, “but this is the perfect show to experiment.”
He decided to name his works the Phoenix collection.
In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a bird that is regularly reborn. He compares the phoenix’s regeneration to his jewelry.
“These are all things that would otherwise have landed in a landfill or been thrown away and have found a second life and a new purpose,” he said, “as something new and fabulous and fierce.”
One of the featured designers under the name Haus of RTC, Lynn Polke calls herself a creative enabler at The Repurpose Project.
“I work here at Repurpose so I see things and they just talk to me,” Polke said, “and I’m like, ‘Oh, OK. I can turn this into something to wear.’”
That’s what happened when Polke lucked into some Earth, Wind and Fire costumes she would later take apart and sew into something for the fashion show.
She calls her collection a “statement of what we are witnessing right now with the extinction of animals.”
One piece began from a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt. Each piece, she said, represents an animal.
Because of the wide variety of things that can be done with previously used materials, Polke said she is looking forward to seeing unusual things.
“This isn’t the kind of fashion event that you see in Gainesville,” Coleman said. “I think it’s a different kind of expression. It’s good to get outside of what you expect fashion to be.”