Student recycles fabric into new clothing designs

Andre+Edwards+works+on+his+projects+Feb.+9%2C+2022%2C+in+the+Apparel+and+Design+Studio%2C+a+space+for+majors+located+in+the+basement+of+the+Reich+College+of+Education.+

Evan Bates

Andre Edwards works on his projects Feb. 9, 2022, in the Apparel and Design Studio, a space for majors located in the basement of the Reich College of Education.

Brionna Dallara, Reporter

One student makes the old new again by recycling fashion materials into his own designs.

Andre Edwards, a sophomore apparel major, started his brand, “Andre Archive,” in December. Edwards recycles fabrics from thrift stores and incorporates them into his designs. He said he loves expressing himself through fashion and style. 

“I love telling a story with my outfits,” Edwards said. 

Edwards utilizes and reworks different used fabrics through his brand. 

“I would describe it as me taking things that are already in thrift stores or already a thing and making it art,” Edwards said. “I try to avoid buying new fabric.”  

Edwards makes use of threads like blankets or curtains and repurposes them into items of clothing or accessories. 

“Obviously, not every piece of fabric can be used, but with something like the curtain, I have some leftover,” Edwards said. “So it’s like, okay, I’m gonna make a bucket hat. Because then I can use it like that and decrease the amount of fabric that’s being tossed.” 

Edwards’ mom taught him to sew in November 2020 before he officially started participating in apparel-oriented courses. 

Pictured is Andre Edwards’ work Feb. 24, 2022, made from recycled jeans, curtains, and other textiles from thrift stores. (Evan Bates)

He’s since incorporated different sewing techniques taught in his classes to improve his original designs.   

“I definitely learned a lot of different things in class that I translated to the brand and am still translating to the brand,” Edwards said.

However, shortly after he started drafting designs, he got COVID-19.  

“When I found out I had COVID, and it was around Christmas, I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ But then I thought, ‘Wait, let me turn this around. Let me be the one on top here,’” Edwards said.

Edwards had just begun drafting shorts for his brand when he got COVID-19 and focused completely on the line during his quarantine. He used the time to come up with his business model. He created his first line of shorts during this time and completed 14 pairs by his first drop.  

“I was able to grind, do all of this, focus, figure out the sizing, and then finally, I was able to do advertising and marketing, which was really fun,” Edwards said. 

Production for the first line of shorts was completed by December and officially launched in the new year.

Despite the negative circumstances, Edwards was grateful for the progress he made during quarantine and attributes his first drop to the productivity that took place during that time.   

“It was a nice restart,” Edwards said. “It happened for a reason, and I’m grateful.”

Edwards’ productivity paired well with inspired advertising for a successful first drop. His first pair of shorts sold almost immediately after posting. 

“I think it sold literally within the first ten minutes, and I was advertising and marketing like hell leading up to it,” Edwards said. “Because it was the very first thing, I wanted to leave a lasting first impression.” 

Lil Nas X’s marketing for his debut album, “Montero,” influenced Edwards when dropping his own line.  

“I love the marketing I did for the brand. I took inspiration from Lil Nas X, how he marketed his album with the pregnancy thing, and then from different people or brands that I’ve seen over time,” Edwards said.   

Andre Edwards’ works on a piece Feb. 24, 2022. Not only does Edwards offer custom commissions along with selling his stock, but he also offers alteration services. (Evan Bates)

Edwards said he encompasses these inspirations from different people and brands and does it in his own way. His designs are often influenced by Black artists and drag queens. 

“A Black drag queen that I definitely am inspired by is Symone,” Edwards said. 

Symone is an American drag queen and model inspired by Black culture. She’s best known for being the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race 13th season

Edwards said his final storyboard for an illustration class was influenced by Symone’s style.   

“I took inspiration from Black culture, which is something Symone does, and I gave it my little twist. I love how there’s so much that is in Black culture that you can be inspired by.” he said.

Edwards also curates looks similar to LA-based celebrity fashion designer Michael NGO. He recently recreated a look that Michael NGO did for Doja Cat using secondhand materials. 

“I take inspiration from people that design for performers and their stuff is very vibrant, very colorful and eye-catching,” Edwards said. “It’s like cool things that they’ll wear once, but it’s still in the music video. Some people are going to see it, and it’s going to be there forever.”

These famous fits influence Edwards to immortalize his own looks through social media.

“That’s how I see it because I do make one-of-a-kind things. It’ll be made in that one specific pattern, fabric, whatever, but it’s still there on social media forever,” he said.  

Edwards incorporates this unique appeal in his brands by sustainably sourcing his fabrics. 

“What makes my brand unique is that I’m not buying bulk fabric. It’s not a bunch of people in a factory, making one piece a bunch of times like Shein or whoever,” Edwards said. “I try to be as sustainable as I can.”

In future clothing drops, Edwards plans to collaborate with other local artists.  

“The next step that I’m going to do is going to be with a tattoo artist,” Edwards said, “It’s going to be a collaboration, and I’m going to basically make things, and they’re going to draw on it.”

Customers can purchase items through his business’ Instagram @andrearchive.official. He sells his own unique pieces and does alterations. He will be accepting commissions soon.