Christeen of Avantegarb makes unique, colorful, funky garb and costumes with a focus on upcycling and recycling fun fabrics, textiles and trims of yore.  She designs for the free spirits and for the colorful little folk who require a good dose of frivolity and humor, who want more from a garment than conventional trends, who desire a look that is only achieved by breaking from the flock.

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft, Christeen.
I started sewing when I was 10.  I learned in 4-H, and my Mom used to make our clothes too.  I grew up around a seamstress, BUT my passion for reinventing garb came when I was in college.  As per the norm, I was broke so I did a lot of resale shopping.  Of course you never find the correct size in something you adore, so I taught myself to revise, update and design something from an unsuitable piece of clothing.  This holds true with my costuming; I have been creating them since I was a wee little nipper.  They just got more complicated as I honed my skills.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Well, while I do so love my "job" of creating funky togs....I would have to say that my absolute fave is hiking along the shores of Lake Superior on a windy day in the early autumn.  The waves are crashing and if I am brave enough, skinny dipping and body surfing with my dog!!  OH, and making cairns with the rocks on the shoreline.  It is my favorite place(so far) that I have been to on this planet, it is breathtakingly gorgeous and pristine and oh, so peaceful!!

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
For me the business is the hardest.....promoting myself and managing the markets and art fairs to attend, listing things on my website and taking viable photos.  Had I my way, I would be creating every day, an artist in the truest sense, I tend toward a hermity countenance, but I am getting better at taking care of business all the time.

One other thing that is tough is picking fashion trends, knowing what will sell and what will not.  Again, I have been a clothes monger all my life, so I get better at it all the time.

What item in your shop would you most like to receive as a gift if someone were shopping for you?
I would love something like these...free flowing and fun, and lovely autumn colors....eeeeek! I'd be in heaven!

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
A veterinarian

What other shops or artists out there do you love?
www.thequirkycorncrib.etsy.com  she makes the most divine owls, I own at least 10....

www.loopyboopy.etsy.com  she makes some weird and crazy dolls, they are so CUTE

What does your future hold?
I intend to keep on creating and making a name for myself. I would love to get my designs in as many stores and boutiques as possible...then perhaps some day design for a big designer (like Yves Sainte Laurent or Gucci) and be world famous....hey, if you're gonna dream...DREAM BIG!

If you're in the New Orleans area be sure to check out Avantegarb at the following festivals:

Broad Street Bazaar on Saturday Oct 10