Fashion designer Margie Preninger shows how much waste she’s accumulated from her sewing business in about three months. She aims to produce zero waste when creating artwork and alterations. - Karly Blats photo

Vancouver Island artist aims to produce zero waste with creations, business

Parksville’s Margie Preninger even dabbled with dryer lint year ago

A Parksville fashion designer and seamstress aims to produce zero waste when creating art and running her alteration business.

Margie Preninger of KlozHaus Clothing Design and Margie’s Sewing, has been designing artwork and clothing for about 30 years that she makes using recycled materials.

“I’m really into up-cycling and repurposing and zero waste and circular economy… those things are all sort of buzz words but I really do it,” she said in her home workshop on Standford Avenue.

Preninger recycles or repurposes just about everything and avoids throwing anything in the trash that doesn’t absolutely need to go there.

“I don’t throw anything away, I use it for other stuff,” she said. “I might put out my garbage can about three times a year.”

Preninger currently has a kitchen-sized garbage can in her work space about three-quarters full of thread that instead of throwing away, she plans to repurpose into a sculpture using textile stiffener.

“I love to use traditional methods with un-traditional materials,” she said.

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Other pieces Preninger has created by up-cycling old materials include purses, jeans, dresses and wall art.

Preninger even dabbled in an unlikely medium several years ago — dryer lint.

“Part of the reason I was intrigued with it is it’s zero waste,” she said.

Although she only made a couple art pieces with the lint, Preninger said she would consider picking it back up to teach a workshop on someday.

About two years ago, Preninger designed three dresses for the Vancouver-based organization Framework, all of which created zero waste and were up-cycled from used shirts.

“I cut absolutely nothing off anything,” she said.

Preninger studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City where she received a bachelor of science with a degree in fashion design and apparel.

“My specialization was lingerie design and I worked for some big companies and I had my work in the big department stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Holt Renfrew and Barneys,” she said.

Although Preninger doesn’t do much clothing design these days, she hopes to get back into it.

“As my son got bigger I started doing [clothing design] less and less. The balance swung from not creating anymore to doing sewing (to make a living),” she said. “Whenever I get a chance I dip into my creative stuff which I absolutely love.”

Preninger has displayed her artwork at several markets and galleries over the years and has designed clothing for past Ballenas Secondary School fashion shows.