Less Posing, More Pruning: Stylish Gardening Clothes Arrive

by nyljaouadi1
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About five years ago, Rozae Nichols, a designer in Los Angeles, decided to get out of the fashion business, in which she had worked since the 1980s. A longtime animal rights activist and vegan, she turned her attention to a new project: Flora Animalia, an urban garden where she hosts educational food workshops and crafting seminars. Out back, an assortment of flowers and vegetables flourish.

Last year, while pruning and planting in old Levi’s and a T-shirt, Ms. Nichols had the urge for a good gardening apron. “I went to look for one, and they are all too limp,” she said. “Too soft, wimpy, lightweight. Nothing sturdy.” So she set off to make her own. Hers is made from recycled denim and features thoughtfully placed pockets and a metal ring for easy access to gardening tools.

After that, when she had a hankering for a cotton dress, something “airy and peasanty feeling that was easy to throw on,” she whipped one up. Just a few years prior, the constant churn and pressure of the garment trade had worn her down; now she was feeling inspired again.

“To design within these boundaries, within this box, was appealing,” Ms. Nichols said on a recent afternoon. “I thought: ‘I’ll plan out some really durable utility clothes. What are the bare essentials?’”

Fiskars teamed up with the textile designer Maria Korkeila on an 11-piece collection, which includes overalls, a tool belt, a coat and an apron, ranging in price from $60 to $350. It was unveiled at the Pitti Uomo men’s wear trade show in Florence, an indication of the company’s fashion ambitions.

“It was really important that you would want to wear the clothing outside the garden as well,” Ms. Orkamo said.

FASHION AND GARDENING are as intertwined as bougainvillea climbing a trellis. Yves Saint Laurent, Oscar de la Renta and Dries Van Noten are a few designers known for their green thumbs, and countless more have designed collections influenced by nature’s fecund bounty. The socialite Mona von Bismarck had Cristóbal Balenciaga design her couture gardening togs, and Katharine Hepburn famously came straight from her garden to present at the 1974 Oscars where it has been said that her outfit — loose black trousers and a matching Mao jacket — had to be spray-painted backstage to hide the mud stains.

This year gardening has taken on newfound relevance. When the novel coronavirus brought the world to a standstill, some people turned to their backyards to fill their empty hours. The unhurried, tactile act of planting and caring for greenery was, for many, a meditative rejoinder to the anxiety-inducing news cycle. And as the effects of global warming become ever more apparent, there’s some solace in the humble act of getting in touch, literally, with the earth.

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