Apparel line upcycles men’s clothes for women
Ssshh — promise you won’t tell. Some time ago, when they were supervising their sons during a field trip to a weekend chess tournament, Eugenie Milroy and Bekah Tighe snuck away to hit the thrift stores in Kingston.
The women, who both live in Cold Spring, have been friends since their sons were in preschool. They enjoyed excursions to New York City to explore textile exhibits at venues such as the American wing of the Met and a show on Virgil Abloh, the former creative director at Louis Vuitton, at the Brooklyn Museum.
Or they’d hit the beach or visit Asbury Park, New Jersey, to see the street art.
And all the while, they’d thrift.
Amid the bundles of clothing, an idea was born.
“We’d see all these amazing menswear items, particularly the shirts and ties,” Milroy says. “We thought: ‘We want these beautiful garments to have a new life.’ Vintage ties and shirts in good condition have a lot of life in them. Plus, they are often made of 100 percent cotton, while so much women’s clothing is not made from natural fibers.”
“I suggested men’s ties and shirts as something that can easily be made into something else,” Tighe adds. “Someone gave us 142 ties. They’re a part of a person’s history, and the material is so beautiful.”
After six months of gathering items, they came up with designs that used the men’s staples to create looks for women.
“At this nascent stage we have two core things: a shirt dress, which is two shirts stacked together, and a belt,” Milroy says. “We also have a one-shirt dress design. Some of our combinations are more neutral, but we like the unexpected, such as incorporating whimsical or traditional silk ties. We like the vibe of traditional menswear and putting it in an unexpected spin.
“Right now, bearing in mind we both have other careers” — Milroy is a fine-arts conservator and Tighe an agent at McCaffrey’s Real Estate — “we’re working on fall plaids, maybe some flannels,” she says.
They made their debut on July 21 with six dresses for $148 each and eight belts for $58 each at Wynono & Co. on Main Street in Cold Spring under the name Stranded Assets, which describes items that have suffered from unexpected write-downs, devaluations or conversion to liabilities, e.g., in this case, fabrics. The reception buzzed with shopping pheromone. The women also have launched an Instagram account (@strandedassetsny) that is a work in progress.
The next step will be getting two new designs into production. “Then probably we’ll have another idea,” Tighe says.
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