Fashion in the Raw

By Jacinda Martinez | November 16, 2016
Image by Jacinda Martinez
by Jacinda Martinez
November 16, 2016

Jacinda Martinez is garden grower, designer, educator and artist. She runs a garden design business called Grounded Local where she educates and works with her clients to grow successful gardens. In her words, “being Grounded Local is about slowing down and taking the time to know the space outside your front door.” She follows a garden-to-table style model that incorporates vegetables, fruits, herbs, and edible flowers. If you are interested in learning more, then you can find her at www.groundedlocal.com and if you are interested in buying a fine art photography print of her Fashion in the Raw series, then check out www.jacindamartinez.com.  Connect with her on Instagram @groundedlocal.


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The idea for Fashion in the Raw began during my first season working on an organic farm. After encountering a very overgrown patch of chard, a leafy green vegetable, I envisioned the massive leaves draped along the contours of the body. In a whimsy of sewing some leaves together, fashioning them on a model and photographing the product, I wove together three of my passions: farming, fashion and photography. Over 50 designs later, the farm and garden continue to present colors and textures that inspire my art form.
Bean Vines and Salsify1

Bean Vines and Salsify

I have been growing food and flowers for the better part of a decade. I learned how to grow on Community Supported Agriculture farms through apprenticeship programs where in exchange for work, I was given room, board and a humble stipend. In those early years, I ate, breathed and slept farming. During the day, I was out in the fields weeding, planting and harvesting and on the weekends, I was scouring the same fields for vegetable matter to sew into dresses. You name a vegetable and I have most likely worked with it at some point in its lifecycle. Some examples include, wire wormed eaten carrots culled from the harvest; deer eaten radicchio; leeks that were going to be tilled under due to being engulfed by six-foot tall pigweed; over seeded tomato plugs destined for the compost pile. Fortunately, I worked for very understanding farmers who would give me a heads up when they were going to till in a field.
Because my designs are fresh and fleeting, my process begins with choosing someone who is available to model. Once I have found the right inedible vegetable by-product, I sew, braid or knot the live fibers together. Dresses can take anywhere from one hour to thirty hours to complete. Yes, I spent thirty hours braiding the tops of dried onions. Dressing the model is the most fun and challenging part of the process because although I have a design in mind, the model’s body usually dictates how it will fit. Once it is on the model, I proceed to photograph the final result, documenting my literal interpretation of fashion here today and gone tomorrow.
Garlic Scapes 2

Garlic Scapes

Kale Seed 1

Kale Seed

The saying goes that “we are what we eat,” but can this same saying apply to what we wear? I started farming because I felt passionate about growing food using sustainable and full circle methods. It is important that the food I eat is not riddled with pesticides and unethical farming practices. It is easy to forget that most clothing comes from farmed plant fiber and similar to the concerns I have with what is going in my body, through my art I want to put an emphasis on the sustainable and ethical journey of what we put on our bodies. The next time you are in your garden weeding and harvesting, take a pause and think of the clothing design potential of green matter that would normally find its way straight to the compost.

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