A few years ago when Mike Kelley was in town for the Destroy All Monsters exhibition at CoCA, we got into a late Nitelite conversation about fashion. Kelley and his cohorts, Jim Shaw and Cary Loren, are massive thrift-store junkies and they've each created whole bodies of work out of their finds (Kelley's creepy stuffed animals humping under old blankets, Shaw's Thrift Store Paintings). We got on the subject of recycled fashion (by way of Chloë Sevigny, who Kelley had recently been hanging out with and who was bringing designer Imitation of Christ to the light of day) and he pointed out how the fashion cycle is entirely based on what shows up in the thrift stores.

Recycled fashion has achieved new heights in the past few years and now recombinant clothing is gaining a firm toe (heel?) hold with new boutiques popping up all the time offering some version of bastardized T-shirts by a local designer. Although I've been tempted to buy one of these creations on a few occasions, an extremely steep price tag coupled with rather slapdash construction has always held me back. That is until recently. After a couple visits to Hipposchemes (1510 12th Ave, between Pike and Pine Streets) and seeing the miracles they worked on a friend's jacket, I grabbed two coats I love but never wear, brought them in and asked Helga Hizer to combine them (her partner Javar Mahweila is the other half of the business). I admit I was presenting Helga with a bit of a challenge: One was a gray wool '80s business jacket and the other was a vintage pink three-quarter-sleeved summer coat. I was curious to see how she'd approach uniting two such disparate styles. What I got back--and I don't say this often or lightly--is a work of art. To see what I'm talking about, stop by the store or check out Fashion Dreams at the Capitol Hill Arts Center this Thursday, September 23. This omnimedia fashion event (with deejay, Butoh, breakdancers--the usual) also features other independent designers from local boutiques.

A few days before their opening party, Robin Williams walked through the door at OKOK Clothing & Curiosities (709 Broadway Ave E) and shouted, "I found you!" Williams was in town for a few engagements at the Showbox, and it turns out he's an avid toy collector (what is it with grown men and their toys?). He plunked down $250 on Kaz's Smoking Cat, James Davis' Dunnys (a Kidrobot project), and other artist-designed and adult-oriented toys. The shop, owned by husband-and-wife team Charlie and Amanda Kitchings, also carries objet d'toys by Tim Biskup, Gary Baseman, Kaws, and Jim Woodring.

kurtz@thestranger.com

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