Contributing Monkie Jennifer Buonantony
Published on February 11, 2009
What happens if you’re an avid record collector and your daughter cracks your favorite Fleetwood Mac vinyl? If you’re Meg Musick Makely — and your maiden name literally indicates that music is part of your life — you preserve the memories attached to that record by turning it into a fashion accessory. Meg made her first bracelet out of vinyl that day in her Chicago-based home. With the encouragement of her friends, she set up a modest stand at Chicago’s annual Wicker Park Festival that draws nearly 15,000 music lovers. They come to watch “up and coming” bands, purchase eclectic arts and crafts, and sample local foods. From there, she was featured in several magazines and it wasn’t long this former ballet teacher and jewelry sales rep had turned a broken record into a career.
In creating her pieces, Meg mastered a technique of using heat to shape the vinyl into its desired look. In making her bracelets, she uses a special cutting tool to slice the cross-section of the heated album where the band’s label appears. She cuts out the desired width for the size of the bracelet and then molds the strip into its shape.
But it didn’t take Meg long to realize there was a lot of excess vinyl not being used. Instead of wasting it, she expanded her designs using leftover pieces to make other accessories such as belt buckles, rings, and pendants. She also found that she could use the entire record to make kitchen bowls and other home products. Of course, the bowl’s center has to be sealed over with mylar to prevent its contents from falling through the spindle hole!
With all of these records in use, Meg began to have a pile up of record jackets. From this potential garbage pile emerged her most popular items, the messenger bags and totes.
These bags feature original jacket covers from your favorite bands behind clear vinyl sides. The bags are fitted with Velcro enclosures so if your musical taste changes, your bag can, too. The bag is held together with faux-leather made entirely from organic materials. Actual volume and tone amplifier knobs — which still turn — fasten the adjustable guitar-strap handle to the bag for a rockin’ look.
The best part about Meg’s designs is that her new products are all made from reprocessing old materials. In other words, all her accessories are the result of recycling, so shopping for her designs need not be a guilty pleasure. Her designs come in a variety of price ranges, so you don’t have to worry about your budget either. Meg’s products are made solely in the U.S. and her daughter is now among her design team. In addition, Meg makes her pieces only with records that are damaged, ensuring that intact records live on to let the music play. Her popularity has even caused small records companies, vintage shops, and retailers across the country to contact her with their damaged goods, rather than send them to landfills as waste. Meg’s company has now been around for six years and moved from her apartment in Chicago to two stores in San Diego, and most recently to her new home in San Francisco. She now also uses recycled comic books, concert t-shirts, and other materials in her new designs. You can purchase her products or learn more about her at her website.
And if you’re thinking of tossing out your old album collection, remember Meg.
Stylist: John Frazier