Example poetry

Clothing designer Brunswick sets poetry in motion

Catherine Fisher models her “Latchkey” reversible jacket in her Brunswick studio. Wearers can choose to reveal a secret patch hand painted with a house design. John Terhune / The Forecaster

Catherine Fisher, from Freeport, explores many themes in her poetry, but she often returns to one central question: how do we shape ourselves and the world around us?

Now working out of her studio at Fort Andross Mill in Brunswick, Fisher has found a new way to bring her poetry to life: through sustainable and ethical fashion.

Catherine Fisher Clothing, which launched last October, sells a range of Maine-made blouses, pants and jackets, each based on a piece of the founder’s written work.

“The poem comes first,” Fisher said. “The garment simply materializes, as it is like the physical embodiment of the poem.”

Catherine Fisher with her “Half-Light” linen blouse. Each item in the Fisher collection is available in five or six sizes to fit a wide range of bodies. John Terhune / The Forecaster

For example, “Latchkey”, a poem comparing forgotten parts of the soul to an abandoned house, inspired a reversible hemp and cotton jacket, with mattress ticking, corozo nut buttons and a hidden pocket with a hand painted house pattern. Two dark silhouettes on the back of a linen blouse represent the intimate themes of Fisher’s poem, “Half-Light.”

A former acupressor, baker and biographer, Fisher turned to poetry in 2016 while pursuing studies at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

“I turned 50 and got into it,” said Fisher, who came to Maine in 1994. “Doing this really helped me show off in a way that I didn’t not.

In 2018, she imagined an eye-catching line of clothing decorated with verses from her poems. Yet she quickly decided that a less literal translation would give each customer more freedom to interpret the garments.

“The most important element of all of this is the energy of the wearer,” said Fisher, who spent three and a half years building his company ahead of the October launch. “The wearer is the completion of the poem and the garment.”

Fisher is a believer in “slow fashion,” a philosophy that favors buying a few durable, high-quality pieces over lots of cheap items that will wear out quickly. She said her clothes, sewn by Golden Thread Designs in Scarborough, are eco-friendly and ethically sourced.

Catherine Fisher hand paints many accents on each garment in her studio in Fort Andross. She ships each sale to her customers with a handwritten note and a copy of the poem that inspired the garment. John Terhune / The Forecaster

This dedication to sustainable practices doesn’t come cheap: pieces in the current collection range from $310 to nearly $500. Still, according to Fisher, who donates 10% of every sale to local and national charities related to the apparel theme, customers can appreciate knowing they’re not harming the environment or profiting from underground workers. -paid.

“It would be just plain awful to put on an item of clothing that you know was made by someone who was underpaid, made in poor condition, underaged – or made of materials that would never degrade,” Fisher said. “Because it’s such an artistic impulse, I want to be sure it’s definitely not part of the problem, but part of the solution.”

Falmouth entertainer and longtime Fisher friend Bessie Moulton admits the company’s high-end clothing isn’t for everyone. But for those, like Fisher, who are always on the lookout for new forms of self-expression, poetry-inspired clothing can be worth every penny.

“Clothes just don’t have to cover your whole body,” Moulton said. “It’s for self-expression. It’s like the art of carrying.

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