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More of what Makes Asheville Special: Dining • Shopping • Galleries • Music • Fun D o w n t o w n A s h e v i l l e Fashion designer Coco Villa draws inspiration from the sustainability movement and the natural world BY LEA MCLELLAN • DOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE Multimedia artist and sustainable fashion designer Coco Villa begins each morning with her journal and her thoughts. With so many avenues for creativity available to her, this process helps her to focus and generate new projects. “Sometimes I write about the color yellow, or about the dream I woke from, or what the textures feel like from my breakfast,” says Villa. “Sometimes I doodle. I want to get something down on paper every day. Usually, a pattern develops, and that is where a new project begins.” Villa’s projects span multiple disciplines — she may be choreographing and filming a dance featuring her garments one day and repurposing scrap fabric using natural dyes the next. “Because I am deeply in love and involved with several mediums of creativity, those morning ideas become the catalyst of a larger developing project typically found at the intersection of fashion design, movement, performance art, and film.” Villa draws huge inspiration from travel, movement, and the natural world. She sources her dyes from discarded plant matter and food Villa teaches workshops on a variety of topics throughout the year in scraps sourced Asheville, Atlanta, from businesses and New York City like Wild Earth Textiles, Flora, Lady Luck Flower Farm, and a few Asheville restaurants. These dyes are used in one of her latest projects, The Colour Lab, in which people can bring in their clothing and textiles to be dyed in the “color of the season.” Winter’s color was mustard, and Spring 2019’s color will be Terra Cotta, a shade of pink and Happy Valentine’s Day 16 |RAPID RIVER’S ARTS & CULTURE MAGAZINE Vol. 22, No. 06 — February 2019

• Dining • Shopping • Galleries • Music IDEAS WANTED Apps • Beauty • Electronics • Housewares • Medical Pets • Tools • Lawn and Garden • Toys and more! Call 844-207-9536 for our FREE Idea Starter Guide. 100% Confidential • Davison charges fees for services ‘Scrunchies, (Hair Tie) Cotton, Naturally Dyed. Materials: cotton, elastic, plant based dyes desert undertones sourced from a unique blend of flowers and plants. As a sustainable fashion designer, Villa’s designs can be considered “upcycled” or “repurposed,” but this goes beyond garment-to-garment transformation. “Upcycled simply means the transformation of waste materials,” Villa says. The artist doesn’t typically buy bolts of brand new fabric; instead, she sources scrap yardage from other designers and second-hand shops. “From this yardage,” she says, “I sew my original clothing designs, then dye them with plants.” Why make her dyes when there are already made dyes available? “I feel closer to Earth by working with flowers, herbs, and mud. There is a careful curation that goes into creating plant-based dyes,” says Villa. “Many of us are cautious about what we ingest and how it affects our health. Well, our skin is also one of our most absorbent organs. I bet it loves lavender, chamomile, and so many other soothing flowers as much as our digestive system does.” Villa teaches workshops on a variety of topics throughout the year in Asheville, Atlanta, and New York City. She will present “The Cloud Show” at The Asheville Area Arts Council April 5 - May 3rd, featuring curated art pieces and a live performance on opening night. In Fall of 2019, Villa will screen her short film, “Cosa Buena,” and release her FW2019 clothing collection. IF YOU GO Stay updated on Coco Villa’s course offerings and ongoing projects through her Newsletter, Instagram or Event page at Advertise with Rapid River Magazine Free Web Links & Ad Design Call (828) 646-0071 Do you or a loved one struggle on the stairs? OFF THE PURCHASE OF A NEW ACORN STAIRLIFT! 1-855-726-9580 *Terms and Conditions apply. Call for details. AZ ROC 278722, CA 942619, MN LC670698, OK 50110, OR CCB 198506, RI 88, WA ACORNSI894OB, WV WV049654, MA HIC169936, NJ 13VH07752300, PA PA101967, CT ELV 0425003-R5. Vol. 22, No. 06 — February 2019 RAPID RIVER’S ARTS & CULTURE MAGAZINE | 17