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Jamaica Workshop Helps You Spin Old Threads Into Fashionable Garb

 Clothes repurposing workshop aims to teach participants how put a new spin on old garments.
Clothes repurposing workshop aims to teach participants how put a new spin on old garments.
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Amanda Browder

QUEENS — What's old is new again.

Instead of shopping for the latest styles, a Queens group says it may be easier to dig out some old clothes stuck deep down in your closet, and make them fashionable again with just a few adjustments.

Participants in a workshop held at the Afrikan Poetry Theatre in Jamaica this weekend will learn tricks to do just that with fashionista Princess Benn-James, organizers said.

The workshop will focus on “clothes repurposing which has everything to do with being very creative with what you have,” said Akosua Albritton, the event organizer.

A lot can be done to jazz up a dull shirt, Albritton said. For example, old buttons can be replaced with new mismatched ones, sleeves can be cut and ruffle can be added, she said. “And now that shirt has been repurposed, it’s got your personality on it and it's more fashionable."

Benn-James will show attendees how to turn loose buttons, shells and beads into jewelry, how to put a new spin on an old dress and how to turn a pair of worn-out jeans into a skirt or purse.

“You can get very creative with transforming that old piece of clothing into something that’s much more artistic looking,” Albritton said.

The workshop is part of a series of green initiatives planned by the theater, which has been operating in Jamaica since 1977.

The center is also working on organizing an urban farming workshop and an eco-fashion show.

The two-story center, where artists such as poet Jessica Care Moore, and Danny Simmons, a Neo-African expressionist painter, presented their works, is also awaiting a gut renovation, which will turn it into a green building, said John Watusi Branch, the theatre's executive director.

Branch said he hopes the renovations, which he said had been delayed by red tape, will start later this year.

Clothes repurposing workshop will take place on Sunday, July 21, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Afrikan Poetry Theatre is located at 176-03 Jamaica Avenue, bet. 176th and 177th streets. Suggested admission fee: $15. Participants should bring clothes that they want to repurpose.