Nov 10, 2008


I am struck by the new collection of reconstructed t-shirts by Los Angeles designer Raquel Allegra. Though, to call them 't-shirts' simply cuts it short. Allegra's elegant pieces begin as used t-shirts salvaged from the LA County Jail's waste pile. The designer, who once worked for Issey Miyake, washes, dyes, cuts, re-constructs, and then savagely distresses the cloth to achieve lacey, filmy, gossamer shifts.

Raquel Allegra, Spring '09

While rescuing usable material from the waste-stream is a conscious motivation for Allegra, and a laudable end in itself, an added benefit is extraordinary softness. In her own words, years of wear by enzyme-sweating men produces an extraordinarily soft cloth, without the need for added chemical softening. Watch an interesting, short video on her design process, here. Allegra's celebrity clientele, and couture prices, attest that 'used' is no turn-off.

Raquel Allegra, Spring '09

Raquel Allegra's haute recycling reminds me of an old favorite in the de/reconstructed fashion business, Junky Styling. For more than a decade, Junky Styling has been transforming passé duds into club couture fashion, from their shop studio in London's East End. Junky even has a bespoke service for clients wishing to have a favorite old garment radically re-designed.

Junky Styling recycled business suit bomber jacket

Junky Styling recycled business suit skirt and wrap jacket

It occurs to me that besides recycling, these two fashion labels share another trait -- lots of asymmetrical styling, which also looks particularly fresh right now.

Raquel Allegra, Spring '09 t-shirt dress

Junky Styling, re-styled men's suit jacket and shirt

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