Designer looks backward to move fashion ahead

By Tammy Scileppi

Scoring thrift store bargains and making upcycled, handmade clothing and accessories from reclaimed and vintage materials gets fashion bug Jacquie Tsang’s creative juices flowing, and she’s never sure what she’ll end up with.

The style alchemy happens in her home studio in Bayside, where the eco-conscious designer has conjured up fun and fabulous, but “not quite trendy designs” using outdated garments as material, mixed with random bits of fabric. Traditional pattern-making combined with freestyle sewing makes her eco-friendly collection come together.

Tsang believes that producing clothing has a huge impact on our environment. “Eco-friendly brands are conscious of this, and try to minimize the impact. People can look great and not be wasteful.

“As disposable clothing has become more prominent in the last few years, I’m hesitant to add to the textile waste that is already being created,” she explained. So, she researched ways to make down-to-earth clothing in an eco-conscious way, and decided to upcycle. “Being able to make one-of-a-kind pieces that people love inspires me to continue upcycling,” she said.

Tsang’s waste not, want not funky style philosophy is painstakingly sewn into each imaginatively reconstructed and repurposed creation she sells on etsy.com. Remixd Clothing’s bohemian-inspired and shabby romantic collection also includes accessories like hats, scarves and even yoga bags.

They say foraging is good for the soul and Tsang admits that she loves sifting through clothing, “mostly at thrift shops throughout the city” and points out that she’s always on the hunt for good quality finds.

She describes her favorite materials as preowned, vintage, salvaged or deadstock fabric. Her made-to-order items are usually fashioned from deadstock/surplus fabrics, or new.

And you can tell the devil is in the unexpected details that she adds to every dress, skirt and top: A little lace here, some whimsical trim there; an edgy combination of eye-catching patterns and fabrics.

Although the native New Yorker loves clothing of the past – not necessarily 20 years or older like vintage – there’s no mistaking Remixd Clothing’s vintage vibe and her appreciation of its many charms.

“It lets the viewer or wearer experience a piece of history. Since fashion is cyclical, owning vintage is an eco-friendly way to wear a trend that has been around before,” she said. “I like wearing vintage handbags and jewelry from the 1960s to the early 1990s. Anything with a bohemian vibe or a minimalistic style is what I look for.”

Tsang’s fashion background is a mix of learning through courses she took at the Fashion Institute of Technology and her own self-taught methods.

In an increasingly disposable world, where the momentary joy of accumulating new stuff quickly fades as the next must-have fad pops up, many millennials have embraced the recycling and upcycling trend in an effort to save their planet.

When she’s not actually creating something, Tsang said she likes to gather ideas and techniques for creating, and thinks people are starting to become interested in upcycled pieces, whether it’s clothing, furniture, or other products.

“I hope more and more people become aware of this option when it comes to their purchases,” she said.