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Food Meets Fashion: Mina Stone's Community Supported Collection

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Designer Mina Stone sees her Fall 2011 collection as "kind of like a CSA," in which fans can invest in the product before it's necessarily "harvested."

At a private pre-sale for her Fall 2011 collection, she said: “You’re investing in my craft before it’s harvested.” CSA, for the uninitiated, refers to Community Supported Agriculture, a farm-to-foodie arrangement whereby consumers commit to a seasonal share of a farm’s produce.

Stone’s model -- an intimate gathering in a West Village apartment -- was more like an old-fashioned trunk show, but she has good reason for culinary comparisons. In addition to designing for New York’s creative class, Stone also cooks for them. The prospective customer she was addressing was actually Corinna Durland, director of Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, a neighborhood art gallery where Stone caters events for artists like Urs Fischer, Rob Pruitt, and Elizabeth Peyton (who backed Stone’s recent Kickstarter campaign to travel to Athens Fashion Week.)

The dress Durland was trying on, a silk drop-waist number like the one pictured here, got its symmetrical tie-dyed pattern from the designer’s expertise in folding pastries.

“It’s like baklava,” Stone said, revealing that before dipping her fabrics in dye, she folds them in the same patterns she uses to make the traditional Greek dessert: a layered confection of nuts, honey, and flaky phyllo dough.

As it happens, Durland ordered and paid in advance for the dress, along with a few other pieces, which she will receive in July. Stone said these sorts of advance sales help provide the cash for materials for the season ahead -- an increasingly prevalent trend in terms of the commerce of fashion as more and more upstart designers are looking for seed money to keep their collections going.

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