The skirt was hideous. It was one of those impractical floor-length wraparounds from the ’70s, the kind with the really high waist and so much volume it came off looking like something from “Little House in the Prairie.” Even with its vintage label and the growing popularity of all things vintage, it hardly seemed salvageable. It was best left where it came from — in a bin full of old clothes.
Jamie Powell saw potential, though. Two yards of potential, to be exact. She didn’t see three-decade-old style, she saw fabric, glorious white satin with large floral patches of velvet in baby blue and pale pink. In her mind, it could easily be transformed into a chic dress that she could resell for quadruple the cost of the materials.
It’s the latest trend in green living. From her makeshift studio in a home in Durham, Powell is growing her business of turning vintage rejects — the stained, torn or simply too hideous — into modern, wearable fashion that she sells under the label Revamp. “It’s not runway fashion, but fashion people would wear every day,” says Powell, 25.
Powell, who has had a longtime love of vintage clothing, decided to make vintage her career just after graduating from college in 2005. Instead of opening a traditional store, she decided to be an Internet wholesaler. She buys clothes by the pound, digs through them to find the gems and then resells them all over the world through her company American Vintage Clothing & Classics (www.avcc-inc.com).
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