Creating Functional Art from Discarded Apparel

An In-depth Look at Alien Mermaid Cove and Altered States

As a child, I remember dressing up with my sister, cousins and aunts and going outside to take photos. Not only do these photos bring back fond memories now, but I realize this was the first time I observed a connection between fashion and photography. These early memories were the first instances in which I explored styling clothes and trying out different poses.

Now, I have twenty five years of styling experience under my belt. As a kid growing up in Utah, I had no idea what it meant to be a stylist as that job wasn’t even a profession. Styling is now an integral part of my photographic practice and has made my photography stand out as creative and different. I’m always paying attention to new and emerging trends, tapping into these styles before they are fully developed in the mainstream media. I have learned that styling is a creative outlet for me and an important part of my artistic practice. Anything I can design and manipulate, everything from set design to articles of clothing, is of great interest to me and is what makes my photography stand out.

I also draw from my time in the Pacific Northwest and Los Angeles, combining different genres of clothing, such as outdoor wear with athletic wear, a free spirited feeling with a surf/street vibe.

My personal style is a culmination of my life experiences. My nostalgia for the 90’s pulls me towards oversized clothes, skate culture, and particular shapes from the 90’s. I also draw from my time in the Pacific Northwest and Los Angeles, combining different genres of clothing, such as outdoor wear with athletic wear, a free spirited feeling with a surf/street vibe. I would also describe my style as more androgynous and inclusive, allowing me a wider range of styles to explore. My current style is, think The Big Lebowski, but more feminine or all inclusive. The careful curation of Altered States, my personal brand sold in my shop Alien Mermaid Cove, draws from all of these areas.

One of my favorite additions and a number one best-seller in the shop is my screen printed girl.

Before these pieces become a part of the Altered States collection, I transform these items, making them current and contemporary through cropping, bleaching, acid washing, screenprinting, or embroidery. Rather than allowing clothes with blemishes to go to the landfill, I manipulate these pieces into something new and unique. One of my favorite additions and a number one best-seller in the shop is my screen printed girl.

My current goal with Alien Mermaid Cove is to have a solid retail space, and overtime to be able to offer more services to artists, projects, and people important to me. Long term, I would love for Alien Mermaid Cove to grow outside of a local business, opening store locations in other cities and states. For Alien Mermaid Cove, I am currently working on a new line to drop in the Spring of 2022. This new line will exist of new production rather than pre-loved pieces, but will be all ethically and sustainably sourced, and made in the USA. I also hope to expand this sustainable clothing line to include sustainably sourced home goods. Alien Mermaid Cove and Altered States have both grown from just a dream to a reality, and I am incredibly grateful for those who have supported my journey as the mission and dreams of these companies have expanded, but I am also excited to see what growth is to come in the next five to ten years.

Owning a business and brand that focuses on sustainability is incredibly important to me. Now more than ever, it is important to live sustainably, and the time to make the necessary changes is now. My hope is that the success of Alien Mermaid Cove and Altered States will over time both continue to raise awareness for the importance of living sustainably and prompt others to make even small lifestyle changes that will have a big impact on our planet in the long run.

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Join me here on Wednesdays at 12pm to learn more about my personal journey and begin an exploration of your own. If there are specific topics or issues you would like me to respond to, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram at @teresaflowersphotography or @teresaflowers. Or tune into my weekly Instagram Live stream on @teresaflowers where I will be discussing these topics in more depth and answering your questions!

Thank you all for your support and encouragement over the years. I am excited to continue this journey with you!

Teresa Flowers is an internationally recognized multimedia artist based in Portland, OR. She is also the founder of Alien Mermaid Cove and Altered States.