Julie Osterhout has a sixth sense. She sees things treasure out of trash, to be exact. Her brand JulieO is made entirely out of recycled goods and has been a unique addition to Art Walk since early 2011.
JulieO booth at Art Walk
The theme for her clothing and accessory line became a focus after her environmental science professor at The Art Institute of Jacksonville lectured on the amount of waste a human disregards in their lifetime, and more specifically, the amount of material fashion students throw away. Finding some way to change this became her mission, and so JulieO was born.
As a student, she is able to gain plenty of material that would otherwise be tossed out by her colleagues. For other needs she gathers items from thrift and bookstores, and even from around her house. She once made a clutch from old, forgotten about fabric with an Elvis print that she found in her basement.
Clutches made from recycled fabric by JulieO
She also scores some great findings from her friends. She made purses out of books and paper machete corsets after her friend who worked at Chamblins notified her on all the potential treasure she would come across.
Dracula book-purse, rings, and other accessories on display at Art Walk
Though the JulieO fashions featured at Art Walk are solely accessories, the brand is also largely made up of clothing. For now, Osterhout is comfortable with only selling jewelry at the monthly event because she said the items can fit and appeal to everyone.
The clothes still get their time to shine elsewhere. JulieO has been sold at Young, Loud & Snotty on Atlantic Beach and is currently sold on Etsy.com and Facebook.com. In fact, the social networking site is where Osterhout gains most of the feedback and special requests from members of her following. She was recently asked to create and donate some designs made from books to a library in South Carolina.
Necklaces by JulieO
She said she was more than excited about the opportunity and got really nerdy with the whole library thing," when it came to making the accessories.
After that, the request for personalized pieces of JulieO continued to fill her inbox. She has since made pieces for weddings, including a garter formed from the husband-to-bes old military uniform and a baby bib.
If you can think of an idea then I can easily make it, Osterhout said.
The designer ultimately envisions her brand expanding into an entire boutique filled with her clothing, accessories, and all of the music she loves on vinyl.
To see the latest of JulieO, visit Osterhout's booth at Art Walk or attend the Emerging Stars Art Institute Fashion Show Nov. 17 at the MOSH Bryan-Gooding Planetarium.
article and photos by Melanie Pagan