From face masks to a vintage clothing line, Fashion Designers Arianna & Nikolas Knowles Sanchez-Wong rise to the top with their fashion brand, Rusty Reconstructed.
Rusty Reconstructed, an upcycled vintage clothing brand, makes its way into NYFW for the first time. During quarantine, Fashion Designers Arianna & Nikolas Knowles Sanchez-Wong went into action – brainstorming, designing and creating a collection. They first started by making face masks right when the pandemic hit. Once things started opening up in Los Angeles, they started selling both their face masks as well as some of their redesigned vintage pieces outdoors, at their local flea market. Now, almost a year later, they are showing their upcycled vintage collection at New York Fashion Week – putting a modern twist on vintage clothing.
Read our interview below:
–What is it like doing a fashion show during the pandemic?
This was our first time participating in NYFW and we noticed that most people participating were cautious around each other. Making sure masks were worn or at least a face shield. We also made sure we had communication with our models during a fitting, for example, we would tell them “I’m going to adjust your pants” or “I’m reaching around you” – this way they are aware that we are in close contact with them.
–What was it like doing a fashion show outdoors in the middle of winter?
It was cold. We felt like there could have been more consideration for our guests as well as the models for being out in the cold.
–What is your collection about? What is it made of?
Our collection is inspired by Los Angeles Streetwear and fine art. Our brand didn’t start getting the recognition we have today until the pandemic started. We were one of the few brands who were lucky to have been able to say that the pandemic helped us in a weird way. We started making face masks right when the pandemic started and it kind of took off from there. During quarantine, we also had the time to design and create new things since the markets were closed. We were selling our face masks online via, Instagram and Depop and this gave us the motivation to create a website for ourselves. Once things started opening up slowly in Los Angeles, our local flea markets opened back up and we took the chance to participate and vend at them while we could. At the markets, we were selling face masks as well as repurposed clothing we created. Since the markets were outdoors and this was the only thing for people to do and get out of their house, they started to get busier and busier and we noticed people responding to our clothing pieces so this gave us the cue to make new pieces weekly if we wanted to keep up with the demand at the markets. We made a corset out of a vintage t-shirt and from there on we started getting the exposure we have today from reworking vintage t-shirts into corset tops, as well as using vintage activewear and combining it with denim to make pieces that people didn’t think could work together but actually look really good on.
Our collection was mainly inspired by a lot of the pieces we had created during the summer and pieces we knew people responded really well too but made them into a mini collection rather than just individual pieces to sell at the market.
We do call ourselves a sustainable clothing brand, but the word “sustainable” is too broad and we felt like everyone says they’re a “sustainable” brand. Therefore, for this specific collection, we say this was our first “zero waste” collection. What this means, is our collection (besides the jewelry and shoes) was made from sourced vintage materials that we found at local thrift stores or from vendors at the markers we vend at. We only used recycled materials, such as, vintage race car t-shirts, windbreaker jackets, vintage denim that was cut, hand-dyed, and sewn back together, vintage blazers and two-piece suits, and lastly a Picasso curtain we thrifted to make our men’s two-piece matching set. When we say “zero waste” though, what we’re really saying is all the scraps that were cut to make the collection were saved and used to stuff the puffer jacket.
– Did you have to get a COVID-19 test before the show?
Yes, we did, we had to get COVID-19 test before we actually flew out to NYC.
– What advice do you have for fashion designers and models during the pandemic?
For any fashion designer, we would tell them to go out and do it. Don’t let anything stop you and if it’s something you want to do, DO IT! We were hesitant in participating at first but we didn’t want to let the opportunity go to waste so we just went for it.
Rusty Reconstructed is an upcycled, reworked vintage clothing brand based out of Los Angeles. Everything is handmade in LA by couple, Arianna & Nikolas Knowles Sanchez-Wong.
What do you think about the vintage collection?! Let me know in the comment section below!