Rentrayage: ‘Women feel guilt about fashion purchases and need new choices’
Erin Beatty – founder of 2019-launched label Rentrayage – elevates vintage and deadstock fabrics with looks enduring in their ease and subtle allusion to Americana, from spliced and diced flannel shirts to ruffled-band T-shirts
‘I've always loved vintage, taking secondhand pieces and changing them,' says Erin Beatty, known for founding socially conscious New York label Suno, which shuttered, to industry regret, in 2016. It was while she was pregnant with her second child, the same year, that she began musing on the waste caused by juggernaut and small fashion brands alike. ‘I started really researching alternative sustainable fabrics,’ she says, ‘but nothing satisfied my creative needs.’
Deadstock fabrics and vintage finds sit at the heart of Beatty's brand Rentrayage – named after a French word meaning ‘make whole again' – which seeks to breathe new life into unwanted clothing and fabric in an intriguing take on sustainable fashion. ‘There's a lot of vintage in LA and Florida,' she says. ‘I find a lot of men's shirts in Connecticut and there are great warehouses in New York. It's just all about finding the right quality.'
Beatty is focused on evolving tenets of American workwear – varsity sweatshirts that are overdyed, chambray shirting and denim – and imbuing them with a subtle femininity, like ruffles, floral prints and pie-crust collars. For Rentrayage's S/S 2022 look book and collection film, the brand decamped with a troupe of dancers to Beatty’s friend’s farm Harlem Valley Homestead in Wingdale, NY, where they sported dresses made from deadstock stripes and vintage denim waistbands, hybrid smock dresses and sweaters, and deconstructed blouses. Pieces were even made using a deadstock Marc by Marc Jacobs fabric – the diffusion brand that closed in 2015. ‘You might as well share!' Beatty says. ‘The really correct way for brand's to dispose of their old materials is to sell them on.'
A Rentrayage prairie dress – trimmed with cotton lace and formed from three iterations of floral fabric – was selected to be part of ‘In America: A Lexicon of American Fashion’, The Met’s major two-part series of NYC fashion exhibitions, focused on the emotional qualities in American style. Beatty's piece is a symbol of the aesthetics of the United State's past but also, in design terms, of what is essential to its future.
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