ALAYNA ROE + HOW TO redesign THE vintage garments

Alayna Roe is a project created and run by Brooklyn based creative Alayna Nieters. She is committed to sustainability by increasing the longevity of garments through redesign of vintage garments and custom redesign projects.

”We shop to find unique pieces that can be revamped to become more modern staples and aim to mend, decorate or recreate garments to reduce the need to buy new clothes. Each garment is handpicked and reimagined to be a one of a kind contemporary piece.”

ALAYNA ROE, https://www.alaynaroe.com

A CONVERSATION WITH ALAYNA ROE X 33 MAGAZINE

Describe yourself as a creative and how ALAYNA ROE was born?

I have always tried to nurture a close relationship with my creativity and explore the many mediums with which to express myself. I do not feel tethered to fashion but have found it to be a rewarding outlet, especially when I can utilize my creativity to promote waste reduction and sustainability. Alayna Roe has always been brewing beneath my creative surface; I started cutting up vintage garments handed down from my grandmother when I was a child, but I never thought to translate it into a fuller brand. A year after moving to New York, I lost my day job. It was a difficult moment, and I experienced some creative stagnation, but it ultimately gave me the time and space I really needed to examine how I could expand my passion. Alayna Roe was the result of that reinvigoration.

How do you manage the creativity process exactly as it’s really challenging the sustainability in fashion industry?

My creative process has certainly changed as I have become more aware of the potentially harmful outcomes of buying pristine vintage or thrifted pieces to resell. I push myself to buy flawed garments and then work around the flaws to create a new, wearable garment. Working to mend or fix a flawed piece has added a new challenge to my creative process and ensures that my product is more in line with my beliefs as a brand. 

What is the most challenging issue in promoting your own label ? 

I find this to be the hardest part in general! Self-promotion feels very foreign to me, particularly because Alayna Roe is such a small brand that feels so personal to me. I also find that it can be difficult to detach myself from each piece that I’ve worked on and think about how they would best suit the customer. 

What’s the main impact of social media in both ways, buying and brand marketing? 

Social media feels very much like a necessary evil. I think it’s great that small brands have a free platform to show their work, but it can feel very performative. We are in the middle of a global pandemic, and in a lot of ways we don’t see that represented in social media. That said, it has been really inspiring to see what people are making, either under a label or solo, during this difficult time. I certainly have tried to take advantage of our time away from “real life” to examine how Alayna Roe is branded. My goal is to ensure my brand feels relevant to the social climate we are experiencing, pivoting to working on the types of clothes I myself am wearing during the pandemic (sweats sweats and more sweats) instead of perpetuating the image that we are all getting fully made up and dressed every day.

How do you manage to choose your models in order to spread better the diversity issue through ALAYNA ROE?

Great question! As a small brand with a small budget, I have worked primarily with friends and friends-of-friends who feel comfortable modeling for me. Because of this, I have been able to shoot models not typically seen in magazines, which is exciting to me. Above all, I believe there is always a lot of room for growth. I am working on expanding my sizing and looking to ethically source plus-size vintage (ex: garments that would need to be reworked due to damage or lack of modern appeal). I am very excited about this next step for Alayna Roe!

What do you think is the biggest challenge regarding your work?

My biggest challenge has been to create zero waste. There are so many resources for recycling garments and fabric yardage, but hardly any resources for recycling scraps! I have become overrun with scrap fabrics and am always trying to find new ways to utilize them to keep Alayna Roe as close to zero-waste as possible.

Define sustainable concept nowadays in few words. Do you think this issue became too superficial in fashion industry?

Even though “sustainability” has become a buzzword of sorts, I do think that enlightening consumers as to how wasteful the fashion industry is is an overall positive. As consumers, we are constantly exposed to brands claiming to be sustainable, while not necessarily provided much information, data, or proof. Unfortunately, at this moment in time, it is still falling on consumers to research how ethical these brands really are and to hold them accountable for their claims.

How do you think your label can play an important role in your daily client’s life?

I hope that Alayna Roe helps people think differently about their own wardrobe and how they choose to buy. I want people to envision their clothing as having a circular life, and instead of throwing out garments that they used to love but perhaps no longer fit correctly or have minor defects, reimagine what they can be. The vision can vary: altering, mending, redesigning, or even turning the garment into something entirely new.

What do you think about the opportunity of selling your pieces online nowadays?

I love being able to sell directly to my customers! It is so refreshing to be able to cut out the middleman. One downside is that it does create more work for the brand/designer in the sense that we are now responsible for every step of the selling process. I got a business minor in college but skipped most of my classes to keep sewing in the labs…now I wish I would have gone to a few more of those classes!

Imagine that you must write a letter to your FUTURE SELF. What would you write?

I would tell myself to keep pushing and to keep advocating for what I believe in. If one person sees what I am doing and identifies with my sustainable practices or is inspired to breathe new life into their own garments, I’ll consider Alayna Roe to be a success. 

SHOP NOW ALAYNA ROE: https://www.alaynaroe.com

ALAYNA ROE