Stacy J. Lee: discarded rags to eco-couture riches

By: Melodie Duperval.

FAULT: So stacy, how do you design for a better world?

I try to be more conscious in all aspects of my work — which materials to work with, how to produce them, and the final products. I am also very interested in building communities through fashion, promoting locality, being resourceful, while not compromising design. More than that, I strongly believe that eco-consciousness can be a design enhancer, rather than a limited way of working.

FAULT: What experience did you have that made you realize you wanted to be an eco fashion designer?

During college, I worked part-time in a retail store. One day, we were shipping hundreds of clothes (damaged, used, dead stock) and I found out it was all being sent out to be burned. The company didn’t donate their clothes because it would ruin their image. I was really shocked when I heard about this, and later learned that many other companies do the same thing. This was the first incident that made me become more aware about just one of many unsustainable practices of the fashion business and lead me to grow a deeper interest in learning how to be a more eco-conscious designer.

FAULT: Tell us about your collaborations with local designers and fashion companies. Any suspicious comments or looks when you asked for discarded clothing?

Haha, no not at all. I reached out to some friends and teachers in the fashion industry and when they saw my prototypes, they were more than willing to donate their goods. They were all very supportive of my project and were glad to get rid of their “waste.”

FAULT: Really love how you upcycle simple jeans and t-shirts into eco-couture. What qualities do eco-couture designs have?

Thank you! All of these pieces are hand-made in New York City, made in collaboration with many of my friends and family members. They are all special one-of-a-kind pieces as there are only one of each.

FAULT: Your current collection is called “RE ( – ) CREATION”. Did you have the idea of transformation in mind when you came up with the name?

Yes, I called it re(-)creation because they are recreated products made in a playful “recreational” way. I don’t believe in taking fashion too seriously, and I wanted to create clothes that were fun, multi-wearable, and special.

FAULT: Ms. Lee, tell us what is your FAULT?

Not continuing the “RE(-)CREATION” collection this season. I have been so busy working on other projects. I hope to collaborate with more people and do another line soon!