If you’ve ever paid too much money for a skirt made out of old T-shirts, Alex Lee has your alternative. He isn’t going to sell you a cheaper version – he’s got something better. He’ll show you how to make the old clothes sitting in your closet look just like the high-fashion vintage pieces.
“I’m not a fashion designer,” said Lee, an Art and Design senior. “I just make things fit people.” Lee majors in graphic and industrial design, and the concept of reusing and recycling are pervasive in his collection.
As college students, we’re bombarded with information about how to conserve. This can be overwhelming, and Lee offers a simple way to dress and accessorize responsibly. His vision is a holistic one: The clothes are meant to do more than just look good. The new piece – derived from older garments – is meant to manifest the distinctive character of the owner.
Lee is creating 20 individual pieces for his senior thesis. Participants bring him some old clothing they no longer wear, and Lee talks to them about their style, personality and interests. Then he “refurbishes” – fashioning a new piece that improves the fit physically and stylistically. The new pieces carry more personal importance and meaning than anything store-bought.
But Lee’s vision stretches beyond his senior thesis: He hopes to create a movement promoting recyclable fashion. He will open an interactive studio Saturday at the gallery Natural Canvas on Main Street, which he hopes to keep as a permanent space. The gallery will be dedicated to sewing machines and workshop areas where people can transform their old and boring clothing into new styles that better fit their bodies and personalities.
Consider taking part in Lee’s movement by heading to Natural Canvas with an old sweater you never wear this weekend. You’ll leave not only with a new handbag or shirt but the inspiration to take what was once useless or trash and create something far more innovative.