Tell us about yourself!
Hi! I’m Rachel, the creator behind Reggie by Rachel. I study journalism, but I also have a passion for all things creative and use Reggie as an outlet when I want a break from my academic commitments.
How/When did you get into sustainable fashion and customising garments?
I have always tried to keep the environment at the front of my mind. I was part of the Youth Environment Council in Year 7 and grew up around beaches. I would clean them up with my dad, and I thought I would become a marine biologist at some point. That dream changed over time, but I still hold onto the values I learned at that age.
I first started noticing the importance of sustainable fashion during the rise of thrifting as a trend online. I was young and didn’t have a lot of money to invest in lifelong pieces. I found that despite this, I still wanted to be as eco-friendly as possible while discovering my sense of style. From there, I did countless school assignments on the fast fashion industry, which made me realise how important it was to keep sustainability in mind.
It has almost been a lifelong journey because I could pin down so many moments over the years that have led me to the way I have decided to run Reggie. I could give credit to art classes, Instagram accounts I love, multimedia classes, screen printing videos, and plenty of random hobbies. All of this, combined with my love for fashion and art, created Reggie as it is today.
Who are your biggest art inspirations?
I always post my inspirations to my Instagram when I get a chance because I love to shout them out. Inspiration comes from all sorts of places for me, but the accounts that have impacted me the most would be @bird_like_dog, @shop_69_tearz, @anastasia_uncanny, @unhingedpeach, @bugdumb, and @uma.____..
I often also get inspired by tattoo artists like; @sinewpark_tt, @renelamouise, or @latchinga_.
Where do you source inspiration when repurposing existing pieces?
For custom pieces I like to ask the client what they want or try to get a read of their personality. When I created the I-Spy pants for my friend Chelsea, I was able to work with her to see what toys she grew up with to add to the piece and I think it made it all the more personal. For the pre-made pieces I sell, it mostly comes from Pinterest, song lyrics I like, or poetry I have been writing. I also love to add references to my favourite shows or movies.
Why do you think it’s important for others to take the initiative and buy from local fashion retailers?
It can be hard at the moment for people to want to spend money at all, let alone locally if it is more expensive. But it is important to remember that locally sourced items and sustainable products have a far more lasting and positive impact. Being conscious of the way we consume can be both economically viable and environmentally conscious if we adjust the way we think. Less travel for clothing means less emissions, less new products mean less waste, and local interaction is better for the community too! The benefits are never-ending. The aim for Reggie is to offer pre-loved clothing with a minimised environmental impact or to take something you haven’t worn in a while and turn it into something new and exciting which can be deeply personal to you.
Why should students opt for sustainable options over fast fashion?
Sustainable options feel better for your soul. Knowing that you aren’t leading to more waste in landfills and more emissions is a great feeling. Buying new from sustainable brands will give you a better product that lasts longer than fast fashion, and buying second-hand or repurposed items will give you something unique.
What has been your biggest challenge in selling customised clothing and fashion pieces?
Getting the word out! I think people are too scared to reach out, but I promise I can work with almost any piece, and I will happily answer any and all questions.
Other than that, I would say trying to do the final version on the clothes knowing that you only get one chance. There is no backup pair of jeans, so I am as careful as possible and try to give my clients the reassurance that it might take me longer, but the product will be better.
I also always want to keep everyone’s items for myself by the end. I fall in love with them all as I work on them, but what makes me even happier is seeing people wearing my art.
Where can we find your work and how can we support your business?
You can find my work on my Instagram page, @reggie.by.rachel (and DM me for a custom piece if you would like), or you can head to my Depop, @r_forbes, to see what’s up for sale!