Shoppers Crowd Thread

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Katie Buzas

The fashion event that started in a backyard has sprouted into what some locals dub “Fashion Con.”

Thousands of customers shopped wares from hundreds of designers over the weekend. The event took over the second level of Horton Plaza Sunday.

Among the designers was Jimothy of Chi Stylezs who makes handmade cuffs, wallets, purses, earrings and guitar straps from recycled leather. He believes creating designs out of unwanted material brings about positive energy.

Although everything he makes is one of a kind, the Chi Stylezs’ price point is surprisingly affordable. His leather cuffs sell for $15.

The bags, which transform into a wrist clutch, a shoulder bag and a messenger bag, begin at $100.

“I started making stuff for myself out of old leather from the thrift stores and people started wanting it,” said Jimothy.

He started selling at the weekly farmer’s market in Ocean Beach. Now, musicians from bands like Thievery Corporation and Tortured Soul wear his stuff. Look for his logo, an infinity symbol over the Chinese symbol for “Chi” or “energy”, at the Coachella music festival this year.

One artist from Art Kills Artists, an art organization that gives “starving artists” a fighting chance, was entertaining crowds with his live artwork display, while a skater-inspired brand, Nature’s Mistake, was creating graphic T’s on the fly, announcing, “fresh baked t-shirts, only $5!”

Making her way onto the designer scene is April Cromer, of the 1920s inspired Clover & Folly, who makes everything from her unraveled, re-crocheted sweaters to her tea cup-adorned necklaces, by hand.

“I’m really into recycling,” said Cromer, “I try not to use as many new materials as possible, aside from things like clasps and hooks, which I have to get new.”

As a returning veteran to Thread, she took notes as a beginner last year. “It seemed like with the economy, people want smaller things that are less expensive, but still fun so I decided to go with mostly jewelry for the show,” she said. “People could take it home and remember my brand.”

One well-established designer that has been with Thread since it first began is Germany-born Micha Kuechenhoff of Micha Design.

Kuenchenhoff’s offbeat collection began when she impressed a friend by taking some throwaway items and turning them into jewelry. Her designs made from recycled items such as feathers, chains, lace, door knockers, doilies and even scrabble pieces, are now popular among Hollywood starlet’s such as Fergie, the Kardashian sisters, Juliette Lewis and Macy Gray.

Locals and designers at Sunday's show agreed that San Diego’s influence in the fashion industry is growing.

“San Diego has emerged in the last year. It’s become a little bit more fashionable and I feel like I was a part of it,” said Kuechenhoff.

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