Posted on Monday, July 21, 2014 by Jim Norrena
Ghetto Goldilocks is part of the 25th Street Collective in downtown Oakland
It used to be when an article of clothing became outworn you either gave it away or you threw it away. Those were the options.
Yet today's artists are using their arts education to revisit, rethink, and ultimately repurpose how to use discarded materials in ways that are socially rewarding, environmentally sustainable, and downright eye-catching!
Briget Campbell (BFA Ceramics 2005) is the proprietor of Ghetto Goldilocks, which is part of the 25th Street Collective located at 477 25th Street in downtown Oakland. Artist-merchants within the collective are producing works that not only attract art consumers but also those consumers who are looking for sustainable products.
In Campbell's case, she has ingeniously repurposed recycled and discarded clothing pieces to re-create new fashion pieces that are unique, stylish, comfortable . . . and literally built to last. She takes yesterday's forgotten mediocrity and makes today's stunningly memorable fashion statements.
Yet how did the ceramicist step into the fashion scene?
"Although I studied in Ceramics," explains Campbell, "my current line of art is a line of clothing inspired a lot by my background and passion for the human sculpture. I sculpt in fabric, cutting, and reshaping one-of-a-kind wearable art."
She further explains: "My arts degree gave me the confidence in myself as a creator. I have used the skills that I learned [at CCA] in my current craft to this day. I found the education I received at CCA was extremely well rounded and really allowed me to explore all avenues of interest."
Ceramics, Clothing, Career!
Campbell assisted ceramic artist Anne Goldman while enrolled at CCA. Shortly after graduating, she founded Ghetto Goldilocks in 2007 and continues her successful clothing boutique today in the heart of Oakland's bolstering art scene.
In fact, Ghetto Goldilocks is located smack in the middle of Oakland's Art Murmur and First Fridays celebrations. Here Oakland-based artists have been making national headlines for their stalwart commitment to making art that's both purposeful and aesthetically appealing.
"I love Oakland. It is such an exciting place to live right now," Campbell asserts. "There seems to be an excitement for creativity from the raw to the refined. Art Murmur has been a part of my clothing line for three years. It has been instrumental in getting awareness of my work out in the community."
According to Secession Art & Design: "[Campbell] was introduced to the arts by her mother, an impeccable seamstress, and her father, a sculptor and painter. Cutting, sewing, and patching fabric together has made this one-of-a-kind handmade clothing line unique.
"Briget believes in creating less waste in the world and using the overabundance of garments already available to her for her clothing line."
Meet Briget Campbell
CCA: You majored in Ceramics, yet ultimately pursued fashion design. What are the career benefits of such interdisciplinarity?
BC: The concept of sculpture has always fascinated me; so it seemed natural to be drawn to ceramics. While studying ceramics I mainly explored sculpture and its relation with the human form, and ultimately evolved my perspective to see fashion design as a very real expression of that sculptural/human relationship, albeit via a similar, but completely different medium.
CCA: What has it been like being an Oakland artist/entrepreneur in Oakland -- particularly immersed in the Art Murmur scene?
BC: I have found Oakland to be the perfect community to grow my artistic passion. It is a ripe and supportive city with inspiring creators and artists that make my work a joy.
CCA: Why is repurposing clothing such an integral part of Ghetto Goldilocks? Did you know from the beginning that you wanted to support sustainability in your art?
BC: Yes, I knew from the beginning that repurpusing was very important to me. I saw an excess of waste as I was thrifting and decided to use what I could without creating more waste.
There is so much potential in unwanted clothes, and it is awful to think that an older-style jacket will get thrown out when I could re-sculpt/reconstruct it into a piece someone will wear.
CCA: How has the 25th Street Collective been helpful in your business? Where do you see taking Ghetto Goldilocks?
BC: The 25th C has allowed me to grow in Oakland in a supportive community of creators. Being in a space with all levels of business allows each of us to learn from one another, get feedback and grow.
As Ghetto Goldilocks grows, it has been finding a more international audience. I value always to keep each item handmade and in the United States. I hope GG finds its way into everyone's closet.
Influences at CCA
"Nathan encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone -- to work bigger and bolder. Arthur has such a gift for the human form and face. He helped me explore the form and see it in a sculptural way."
Says Gonzalez: "An education in art is not an education in art alone. It's an education in creative ways of thinking. It's also an encouragement to communicate with others creatively and to discover new places in your imagination through a collective.
"This is the nature of the classroom, which is a microcosm of real-world community. This is why our alumni feed on staying in community and loving what they do"
Advice for Prospective Students
While Campbell learned many lessons at CCA, one piece of advice she offers future students: "Practice your passion and your career will follow. [Ceramics] is an amazing program and the campus is full with many opportunities."
Related articles about CCA's ties to Oakland's Art Murmur
CCA in the Scene: Perspectives on Oakland's Art Murmur
Alumnus Peter St. Lawrence: Oakland-Based Artist and Entrepreneur
Alumna Carol Ladewig: My Life as a Pardee Artist
Sustainability-Minded Boutique, The Moon, Reflects CCA