Ballard’s Gabriela Reyes often catches herself checking out the male species, though not for their stellar good looks. Instead, the recent New York Fashion Academy grad is analyzing men’s jeans, studying up on the perfect fit. By next summer, the 23-year-old expects to launch her Reyes Apparel menswear line, focusing on classic-cut, fitted denim jeans (maximum price: $100). Reyes uses raw denim (which breaks in naturally from wear, instead of adding synthetic stretch lines) and waxed waterproofing methods for her Northwest-ready trousers. Offering a tailored fit in both lived-in-loose and slim-cut styles, she rounds out her line with chic cardigans, flannel button-ups and long-sleeve layering shirts. “I’m not an avant-garde designer,” she says. “I’m all about laid-back Seattle. And an impeccably fitted, classic pant that doesn’t cost the equivalent of rent is something every Seattle male can use.” Available at etsy.com/people/reyesapparel.
We harbor must-have-it-now feelings for Alexa Baehr’s chic COFFEEPURSE laptop/messenger bag crafted from recycled coffee sacks. An instructor at the Seattle Barista Academy, Baehr salvages burlap bags from Latin America via area roasters, incorporating the distinctive ink-stamped origin tags into her designs and adding fleece lining and D-ring fasteners to complete the perfect Coffee City tote. $80 at etsy.com/shop/coffeepurse.
Rummaging through your mom’s closet isn’t easy, what with out-of-style accessories, mismatched buttons or, horror of horrors, spandex. For the single-named designer Vu, owner of The Vutique (Capitol Hill, 303 E Pine St.; 206.621.2021; thevutique.com), one woman’s embarrassment is another man’s inspiration. Using finds like 1980s Liz Claiborne linen shift dresses or ’90s Maggy London skirts, Vu (also owner of 9-year-old vintage shop Vu two doors down) shortens hems and cuts off sleeves to create new garments. The tiny Vutique space is stocked with his chic-again creations, along with a selection of handbags, shoes and jewelry. Behind the counter, scissors fly as ratty cotton sweatshirts morph into comfortable daytime skirts ($45–$85) and vintage dresses are reimagined into (affordable!) happy-hour-perfect dresses ($65–$95). Don’t be surprised if your mother starts raiding your closet from now on.
Vutique photo by Rebekah Chapman