Thursday, January 27, 2011

RHLS in Swedish! In English!

So if you caught yesterday's blog post, you know that we were just featured in Helsingborgs Dagblad , a Swedish Newspaper. (

The article was based on interviews with three American fashion designers. Here's our answers to the interview with a brief summary of the entire article at the end:

When, how and why did you start working with recycled materials?

We started upcycling right off the bat when we founded Ruffeo Hearts Lil Snotty in Olympia Washiington. That would have been in 2005.. Although we dont really claim the first two years cus we were figuring things out in a major way. Drawing inspiration from vintage sweatshirts and jackets was a huge part of those figuring things out years. How did we start recycling? : It involved a lot of digging at Good Will and Value Village, gotta love mondays at value village, thats when things get marked down to $1!! Back in those days we'd get a (preferably large) vintage crew and turn the sleeves into a sars guard hood, then we'd tack arms on from a different sweatshirt or jacket. Seam ripping all these garments apart to make them fit properly really informed our pattern making department. Why? Well we launched as a sustainable clothing line and continue to structure our business to operate sustainably, so we wanted to source fabric with a 0 impact carbon footprint. It was lofty and idealistic and turned out to be majorly too time consuming to do production in said manner. We moved to Seattle and found a gold mine of bulk neon sweatshirt fleece at goodwill and it changed our lives forever. We learned one can actually streamline production when you cut from bolts rather than fragments and used garments. So now we use a mix of recycled materials and new fabric from ethically operating mills from mainly Turkey and India.

Which materials have you worked with so far? Which are your favorites? Any material you would like to use in the future?

I think we kinda covered past materials in the last question. Mackswells fave material is 80/20 cotton/poly sweatshirt fleece.... Sarah likes athletic mesh. We want to start designing/producing with that new washable sewable PAPER! Yes you will see RHLS using paper a bit in late 2011/12.

What recycled materials will we see more of 2011? How will the green trend develop, do you think? Or in which direction would you like it to go?
Paper. seriously its genius. I hear theres some new wearable/brethable plastic too, with like zip lock thingies as zippers. Future finally! We keep talking about recycling in this interview. And its kind of a loose term.. Not trying to be a chump and attack your vocabulary here but I think this is an important time (in the interview and in the world) to define "recycling" as it applies to the fashion industry. Recycling to me means to re use a thing. Then theres upcycling that means taking a thing and turning it into something new. And Deadstock is kind of in the middle because its abandoned and destined to become trash if the right people dont find it and save it (the right people =s rag traders or inventive designers who explore). I think the future of green will not be to source from deadsotck or recycle or upcycle exactly.. because those are finite fabric sources and techniques for clothing manufacturing. I believe we are going to use manufacturer/consumer waste of all kinds (paper, plastic, fabric remnants, minerals, even cracking open some landfills would help!) and create new synthetic textiles. You get me? We cant make everything from used materials forever if the trend becomes popular (vintage/ deadstock) will run out. we perceive a deficit in sustainable fabric, even the process of turning bamboo into jersey or canvas is dependent heavily on chemical processes. No better than the process of creating cotton. It would be really nice to avoid further environmental degeneration before the planet is totally fucked. So we asking our final customers to think about every step the process of how the things they buy are made. Slave labor is some archaic bullshit that needs to stop. Thats a no brainer. But also we are asking our customers to ask their favorite designers how their source material is made. If its not done transparently and sustainably humans aren't going to make it for the long haul.
Edible clothing and textiles with vitamins or medicine inside it… There are many exciting experiments going on right now -
If you had a time machine and traveled to 2050, what do you think people are wearing and what is it made of?
Abercrombie and Fitch I hope (I think I already answered that one in last question)

What do you wear yourself? Do you buy new or vintage?
We dont make a ton of purchases honestly. But when we do we buy from local designers who are made in the USA. Ok I'll admit my Patricia Field hat is made in Viet Nam, you cant get everything made in the USA/the same town you live in, but we're working to kill that trend. We'd buy vintage more but its so damn trendy in NYC (button up vintage shirt =s $45-$75) that you might as well spend the extra $20 to $50 and buy designer gear. We wear a lot of our own stuff. Im wearing an XXXXL Sars guard Quadrocepticon Hoody n quad leggings right now. Sarahs got some "stretch fucking denim" pants on from Pat Field, and a shirt from Magick Outlaw on (t shirt designer carried at our store "MOVES").

Please mention your role models, perhaps other designers or people that recycle within other fields?
No actually our heros generally arent in the fashion industry.. Tho Tara St. James the designer behind "Study NYC" is an amazing inspiration to us. She gave a lecture at our store about clothing manufacturing local vs outsource and was very open about her past experience producing out of Inda and her current production in NYC.. Shes a gem. Other than that my heros tend to be visionary sci fi writers and film makers.. Robert A. Heinlein, Phillip K Dick, John Waters... Heinlein strikes me as a bit of a misogynist religious fucker but you see him transending it in his career..

Do you have any fashion DIY recycling projects to recommend our readers, how to make a purse out of a pair of jeans or something along those lines..? Could be anything inspiring!

Yes dudes totally take our undies tutorial!! Or the fanny pack one is pretty great too!! Its on or just click this link:

Our friend Josefin gave us a summary about the rest of the article and told us it "basically talks about how recycling fabrics in the fashion industry is becoming a trend. Mostly because fabrics are expensive but also the environmental aspect of it, and that every piece of garment becomes unique. The disadvantage of recycling fabrics is that it's almost impossible to mass produce, you can almost always make only one of each.

Then they talk about the other guys; one of them is using brass (?) to make jewelery, the other one made evening gowns using mosquito nets and other stuff from the military surplus store ( for her spring collections she has used British military parachutes from the 1960's)."

1 comment:

  1. Thanks guys! I was wishing yesterday that I could read Swedish!