Vermont's flourishing fashion industry

Xmas Alley, owner of the Green Closet in Winooski said shes fed up with the corporate-dominated fashion industry, and the problems associated with off-shoring business and then selling clothing to Americans at inflated prices. Her motivation in opening the downtown Winooski shop is to provide an alternative for people getting ripped off by major corporations. The Green Closet carries vintage and recycled clothes and features local indie fashion designers. If youre not yet aware of the growing fashion scene in Vermont, Alley is just one person involved with the quickly budding local market. Theres a really strong desire to be different and express that through clothing, she said and added that new and innovative local designers are, coming out of the woodwork. One such designer, Chris Bissonette, first debuted his work at last falls fashion show as part of the South End Art Hop, and whose work was showcased at the Green Closets third trunk show last week. The first Thursday of each month, the shop schedules an after-hours gathering open to the public to display the works of local up and coming fashion designers. Bissonettes line, Cexy, features cutting edge fashion hoodies, which are generally custom made and include intricate detailing such as thumb holes and funky zippers, eye-catching graphics, and are often reversible, with a solid color on one side and a more racy print inside. Chris said that his line developed as a result of the lack of high-end fashion available for men. He described the world of couture, as primarily a womens only club, but said that its starting to change. I knew what I wanted and couldnt find it. So I started making it on my own,he said. Although Cexy started as mens wear, it has since expanded to include pieces for women as well. Alley said that she met Bissonette and many other local designers at the Art Hop fashion show and they have since become a tightly knit group. Although March 1 was just the third of the stores trunk shows, Alley said the turnout of people has been great and have lasted until midnight when theyve had to close the doors. I think [Chris] was blown away by the turnout, she said. The intent of the monthly trunk shows is to showcase the diversity of area designers, and Alley added, every designer in here is making money. People are totally blown away with the quality of the local talent, said Alley. Theres real talent and real independent fashion here--we can build our own fashion industry in Vermont. When Bissonette is not sewing his own line of clothing, he works as a senior designer at Select Design in Burlington. For more information about his designs, visit www.c3xy.com, and to check out the Green Closet, stop by 1 East Allen in Winooski or visit www.greenclosetvt.com.

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