This boutique features a line of new clothing by local designer Alexandra Parsons, a collection of Laurel Hill jewelry, and brightly colored bow ties by Deanna Perlman. In addition, owner Sanni Baumgaertner and her staff piece together a section of redesigned vintage clothes called Community Service. If you find something you like, you can work with an on-site seamstress to get the right fit
"Baumgaertner opened Community with the intent not just of selling her redesigns, but also creating a place to help sustain the Athens community. She sells various items by local artists and craftspeople, including Emily Newdow pillows, Andy Cherewick paintings, Laurel Hill jewelry, Cindy Jerrell photography, Little Cuckoo Chocolates and Songbird Soaps, for prices that both the artist and customer can comfortably live with. The store also offers sewing classes from beginning basics to alterations and redesign, furthering the idea of helping the community sustain itself.
Her line of redesigned vintage clothing, called Community Service, is made in her store. Sanni describes this spring's show as 'the most elaborate collection yet,' using different techniques such as dyeing and screen-printing"
"Many people aren't aware of the enormous stress our clothing choices place on the Earth: from pesticides and chemical dyes to child labor and landfill space, the true casualties of the fashion industry don't make it into many magazines. Earth advocacy groups implore us to purchase as many articles as needed to cover the 68 pounds of clothing each American will throw away each year from second-hand sources. No surprise then that visionaries like the folks at Community have found a way to make that hot: redesigned vintage."
"'The really awesome thing about Community is that we get pre-loved clothing, very gently used, and then transform it into something completely different. Like a pair of old Levi's could get a new face with some scraps of fabric added in just the right place so that way it's like redesigned vintage,' explains Brooke Davidson" a seamstress intern at Community.
No outspoken theme guides the looks in Athens Fashion Collective's spring showcase, slated for April 3 at the Georgia Museum of Art, said collective member and Community fashion boutique owner Sanni Baumgartner. If anything, she said, "this year is about the individualization of fashion."
Baumgartner's Community Service line expands this season specifically due to technology. Baumgartner is the recipient of a design sponsorship from North Carolina-based print-on-demand company Spoonflower, which turned photographs of North Georgia flora and fauna into sewable fabric.
'The clothes we wear can express so much about ourselves: what I do for work, how much money I have, which group I belong to, what team I favor, which university I go to, what magazines I read, which country I am from, what music I like,' says Baumgaertner. 'Some of these expressions are literal, like a print on a t-shirt, some more subtle, like wearing a certain style, that the group I want to be part of favors. Consciously or not, our clothing carries a message that other people read and react to.'"
"What is sustainability to a local business?
"For Sanni Baumgaertner, owner of Community in downtown Athens, Georgia, it means operating under a retail philosophy of locally made and unique. At her second-story boutique overlooking the University of Georgia's north campus, she sells redesigned clothing, upcycled jewelry, vintage clothing and a range of accessories from mid-century furniture, handmade soaps, chocolates, handbags, and stationary. 'Our items are special because they have a story,' she says. 'It's about where they come from, how and by whom they were made.'
This past month she introduced Community Made, a house label of limited edition t-shirts designed by Athens' artists and musicians."
"Nobody knows better how the arts collide in Athens than Community owner, clothing redesigner and cofounder of the Athens Fashion Collective Sanni Baumgaertner. Last month, five of the collective's designers presented outfits inspired by the High Museum of Art's Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit as part of its closing reception.
Now, with a big AFC showcase currently in the works for fall, Baumgaertner is a busy woman, but she still makes time for Community Made, her house label of T-shirts designed by Athens music mainstays.
Baumgaertner created Community Made with local writer and fashion know-all Amy Flurry to celebrate their city's culture. 'We really just love Athens,' Baumgaertner says. 'We love the art scene and the music scene, and we really would like to support it in a way.'"
Sanni Baumgaertner, owner of Community and the creative power behind her Community Service clothing line, constructed some outfits with winter in mind for Athens Magazine.
It's all about mixing and matching to strike a balance between pretty and edgy - and the result is a style that is uniquely Athens. "The overall look came from what I think is in style currently; where the trends are," she says
And keeping an eye on current styles is something that's worked into Baumgaertner's business model. Her boutique, Community, specializes in repurposing vintage fashions to make them more current and relevant to today's styles. "In general, we have a mix of clothing but we also do a lot of redesigned vintage clothing, where we update and modernize and make vintage clothing wearable that's not really wearable anymore."
Simple sewing methods give new life to discarded, dated fashions from Community Service, the clothing brand stitched into the similarly-named downtown boutique Community.
Unlike traditional fashion designers who work from sketches and develop an overall theme for a seasonal collection, Community Service designer Sanni Baumgaertner said her creative process is more organic, with a fair dose of intuition, that's in part her working style but also a necessity. Baumgaertner begins a look, which may include a skirt, blouse and some sweater-like piece, with the root material - an old blouse, perhaps. But Baumgaertner can fashion a smaller cropped top from the original print. A new life for another generation.