Ona Rex + Goodwill + NFA

This summer I was asked to create a garment only using materials found at Goodwill, which would be displayed at a uniquely collaborative dinner hosted by the Nashville Fashion Alliance, celebrating a myriad of talented chefs and designers called The Reclamation.  This challenge, while most definitely a CHALLENGE, seemed like something that would undoubtedly satisfy the weirdo aesthetic strand in my Ona Rex brain that loves to bring stereotypically tacky details to life to create a beautiful and romantic vision. 

When I first began the challenge, I had a vision of soft, gauzy waves of chiffon, or let's face it, polyester, gathered, tucked, and stitched into soft and gallant draping over the body.  I picked up curtain panels of soft blush and nude and was excited to start draping to my little heart's content!  Once I got into it, however, I found that my inspiration did not run as deeply as I had hoped. 

I was back at Goodwill soon after with a new thought in mind:  how can I marry masculine items into something romantic.  Rodarte is one of my all time favorite brands and I most admire how they take unique and sometimes unseemly details to create whimsical garments that tap into that inner frilly-loving ten-year-old girl. I kept their collections in mind while shopping and picked up a handful of men's oxfords as well as several contenders for what would become the base to my garment.  A bag full of goodies in tow, I was back to my studio ready to conquer a different story. 

What I ended up with was a sleek, slinky velvet burnout gown with layers of striped ruffles stitched over the shoulder and down the back to create a cascading effect (for drama of course).  I created a strap on one shoulder (because who doesn't love asymmetry) out of the button plackets of the men's shirts and even left the buttons on.  The result was a little grunge, a little barbie, and a whole lot of Ona Rex. 

Model:  Raena Lannom 

Photographs:  Brett Warren