Jane Matranga (right) models a coat and dress ensemble she designed and constructed. The coat is reversible. Matranga created a fanciful patchwork tunic for Lee Sandweiss (left) out of T-shirts Sandweiss saved from places she has lived and messages with personal significance. Photos by Rodney Margison

Jane Matranga (right) models a coat and dress ensemble she designed and constructed. The coat is reversible. Matranga created a fanciful patchwork tunic for Lee Sandweiss (left) out of T-shirts Sandweiss saved from places she has lived and messages with personal significance. Photos by Rodney Margison

BY LEE ANN SANDWEISS

Fashion-savvy Bloomingtonians seeking a personal touch for their wardrobe might consider the unusual creations made by Jane Matranga. Since she retired from teaching fashion design at Indiana University in May, Matranga has been amping up her line of Ms Tarantula sportswear, including a variety of casualwear made almost entirely of previously worn T-shirts.

“Many of my clients bring me T-shirts that have meaning to them but they don’t wear anymore, yet they want to preserve them in some way,” explains Matranga, a Franklin, Indiana, native. Examples include shirts collected on trips, at rock concerts, and those from favorite college and athletic teams. Prices for her original designs begin at around $100.

The business’ name came years before the business itself, while Matranga was a public school teacher.

“I was teaching art at West Central Elementary, north of Lafayette, Indiana, and one of the kindergarten students called me ‘Miss Tarantula,’ I assume because she couldn’t pronounce ‘Matranga,’” she says. “I loved it and always thought it would be a great fashion design label.”

After receiving her master’s degree in fashion design from Drexel University in 1986, Matranga taught fashion design at the University of Delaware, Purdue University, and Stephens College before coming to IU in 2011. Since then she’s featured her T-shirt creations at Bloomington’s annual Trashion Refashion Runway Show, but her skills and aesthetic also embrace high-end couture, often with hand-painted embellishments. But by far, Matranga’s most popular creations are the one-of-a-kind tunics she makes from her clients’ T-shirts.

For more information, visit the Ms Tarantula Facebook page or contact Matranga at [email protected]