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Reverse Raleigh breathes new life into thrifted and secondhand clothes.
“One man’s trash, that’s another man’s come up…” Manifesting Macklemore’s thrift shopping vision, Kristina Barnett thinks thrifting is, well, “#$@%ing awesome.” She could spend hours in a thrift store popping tags—to extend the metaphor, just $20 in her pocket (OK, ish)—and leave with a whole new preloved wardrobe.
While some people dig the bargain and the thrill of the hunt, others can get extremely overwhelmed at thrift stores (So. Many. Clothes.) and avoid them like the plague. Enter Reverse Raleigh, an environmentally conscious e-commerce clothing brand launched in late June by NC State grad Barnett (her degree is in fashion and textile management) and business partner Svetlana Geshtovt (who just completed NC State’s Global Luxury and Management program in Paris) in hopes of squashing that secondhand stress and making thrifting easily attainable for everyone.
How? By doing the digging for you. To stock Reverse Raleigh, Barnett and Geshtovt scour thrift stores and secondhand sites (as well as each other’s closets and friends’/customers’ closets!) for garments to repurpose or reuse as is, depending on the quality of the product and what their vision is. “We’ll go and thrift the stuff; we’ll show you how to style it; we’ll get it cleaned,” Barnett says. “You are getting upcycled clothes that someone has cared enough for to go find.”
In turn, by shopping at Reverse Raleigh, you can feel good about the products you’re purchasing because you’re “not feeding into the industry of just buying, purchasing and throwing away, which is really bad for the environment,” Barnett adds. Talk about feel-good fashion.
And that passion for sustainability—as well as supporting local businesses and the community—was another catalyst of the Reverse Raleigh brand. Barnett hopes that the shop can show people that you don’t have to buy something and immediately throw it out once it’s no longer trendy. Not to mention Macklemore’s vision of not “having the same [shirt] as six other people in the club is a hella don’t.” Hence, thrift store poppin’ tags is awesome—for your wallet, your wardrobe and the planet.
Clearly, Barnett agrees. “I can really go into any thrift store and find something,” she says. “A lot of the stuff at thrift stores is underrated. There’s some high-quality stuff that people drop off there.” To wit, Geshtovt will soon be bringing thrifted clothes back from Paris to add to Reverse Raleigh’s online store. “Oh, that Gucci—that’s hella tight.” reverseraleigh.com
“A lot of the stuff you would think were repurposed actually weren’t. These were jean shorts when Svetlana bought them—they came from her closet. They fit like a glove, and they’re super-comfy, super-stretchy. And they fit right into the other trend of the long midlength jorts that everyone’s wearing now.”
“These were black, almost knee-high boots—they’re genuine leather. I got them from a thrift store. They originally had a faux snakeskin backing on them that was coming off. They had laces up the back too. I showed them to a friend, and he said you should take the backing out, so I did. I also took the strings out, and it’s a really cool cutout on the back of the boot.”
“This dress was from my own personal closet, stayed as is. I just used to love it so much and thought maybe someone else could get some use out of it. That one was a big hit too—at the launch party people were raving about it. You can wear it in the winter with a sweater under it or without anything under it or with a T-shirt under it.”
“It’s very trendy to wear blazers with a bra top or nothing underneath, as long as you can close it. I’ve paired it several times with a tank top or a crop top or a bra top—something very simple underneath because it is a very bright pop of color, so you want to kind of pare it down with your outfit. But I love the color. It’s so vibrant and pretty, and kind of cropped too.”
“This one has been the talk of the town. Everyone loves that blazer so much. It was just upcycled—we didn’t repurpose it or anything. It’s actually a petite double XL, so it played right into the oversize blazer trend that’s happening and that will probably continue to happen.”
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