Aug 15, 2011
All About Mallory, Miss Malaprop
My name is Mallory Whitfield, I’m 28, was born in New Orleans, raised in Gulfport, Mississippi and I’ve been back in NOLA since college. (I graduated Loyola University in 2004 as a history major.)
Miss Malaprop just celebrated its 5th birthday! It started in 2006 as a blog focused on handmade & eco-friendly products, and over the last few years I’ve expanded to carry handmade & eco-friendly products by a variety of artists, in addition to my own work. I make mostly recycled clothing and accessories, primarily denim, as well as some jewelry, though I’ve been known to make some more experimental and costume-y pieces too, including a couple dresses made out of FEMA blue tarp, a tribute to the Mardi Gras Indians for one of the Worn Again recycled fashion shows, and a dress covered in stuffed animals. I sell at local art markets & festivals as well as through my online shop: http://www.shopmissmalaprop.com/
Why The Handmade Movement?
I’ve been crafty as long as I can remember. I’ve always made things with my hands, and growing up in the age of the internet, I found myself seeking out the online craft community from pretty early on too. Way before Etsy got its start; I was following various craft related forums and learning about how to run a craft-related business.
One of the first pieces of clothing I ever made was a pair of denim shorts I combined with the bottom of a vintage dress. For me it’s always been about taking things apart, figuring out how they’re made, and figuring out how to put them back together into something new and better.
Become a Conscious Consumer
Try to educate yourself about where and how the things you buy are made. Learn about what is in the products you put on your body and what’s in the food you eat. When possible, try to buy locally made, ethically produced, handmade or fair trade.
The Environmental Working Group has a great resource called the Skin Deep database that shows all of the different chemicals found in most body products and cosmetics. They rank them with an easy to understand system, so that you can find out which products are the best and worst choices to put on your body.
For seafood sustainability issues, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has another resource called Seafood Watch – you can even download an app to your mobile phone that will give you the best options for sustainable caught or farmed seafood choices:
New Orleans Craft Mafia
We started the group in June 2005, and were planning a big launch party for September of that year. Then Katrina happened. In spite of that, we’ve managed to continue on and we’ve grown a lot over the past 6 years. We currently have about 12 crafty businesses in the group, and it’s a great little support network. We collaborate and share resources and ideas, and we regularly do events together. We’ve done a lot of recycled craft workshops during the last couple of years, from our t-shirt recycling workshops at Bayou Boogaloo to recycled paper craft classes at NOMA.
New Orleans Vision
I see so much potential beauty in all of the decay and blight here. Freret Street and Oretha C Haley Boulevard are great examples of this. We’ve seen Freret go from run-down and storm-beaten a few years ago to the hot new bustling commercial corridor now. OCH Blvd, which used to be one of the largest commercial areas in town, has so much potential – I look at these beautiful, but blighted, facades of buildings and wish and hope that someone will buy them and transform them. (Oh, if only I could save so many pennies!) Little by little though, I see these sorts of transformations taking place all over the city – I just hope it continues in this direction.
What’s Next for Miss Malaprop
I’m chug, chug, chugging along, slowly but surely towards the goal of an actual brick & mortar boutique. Right now you can only find me online and at a few local events but hopefully one day soon you’ll have a cute little shop to come visit me at!