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Today we have a Part 1 of short series of interviews with Rachel Mace of Totally Trashed Fashion.

What style/genre do you enjoy creating the most?

If I had to describe my work in two words, they would be “Trash Couture”. Totally Trashed Fashion is a lot different from most of the designers I’ve met, because my clothing is made from unconventional materials. The line that I released on the 10th in Portland, Oregon, was centered around my experiments with tissue paper, and in the line before that I relied heavily on garbage bags and magazine pages. I love to use off the wall materials which come together in such a way that the finished result is both literally and figuratively tailored to each model, and leaves the viewer wondering if the pieces have actually been made from trash at all.

Whats your Creating Playlist?

My creative playlist changes depending on the tone of the dresses, and my mood. I’ve been on a recent country music kick (don’t judge), but I’m an avid lover of almost all genres of music. Some songs which are particularly inspiring for my upcoming line at the moment are (to name a few):

Marching Bands of Manhattan – Death Cab for Cutie
You and I – Lady Gaga
Weightless – All Time Low
Eu Cu Mine – Voltaj
Somebody I Used to Know – Gotye

But my music taste changes by the week, so there will be different songs soon.


When did you first start creating/designing?

I first started creating last spring when local designer and coordinator of the Runway Renegades show invited me to participate in the show. Before that, my creations were literally limited to one outfit I had made in early 2010 out of garbage bags. I jumped into Runway Renegades with both feet, though, and finished my first collection with eleven pieces. Nine of these were made from plastics, and two pieces were made from paper. I really enjoyed the construction process behind the book and magazine pages, so my next line (six months after Runway Renegades) were all made with tissue paper bases. I plan on using tissue paper in my next line as well, as it is such a versatile material for me, with so many color possibilities.

What do you look for in a model, for your designs?

I am very demanding on the models that I work with. My biggest concern is that the girls are ready and willing to make numerous fittings and shows, that they are comfortable with the creation process (which is unorthodox to say the least), and that they are not complainers. I feel as though my years of experience in modeling gives me a good sense of what can and cannot be done by the models involved, and expect the girls to be upfront about their limitations and work hard with me to make the best possible of results. I tell all of my girls to expect at least three-four fittings, at least one photoshoot which I handle the details of, and at least one runway show. I prefer to have experienced models who are comfortable in difficult clothing, but I am willing to train girls if they fit the image I am looking for and I feel they have potential. When I selected Ria Bertone for my first runway show, she only had one photoshoot under her belt, but she had so much personality that she was exactly what I wanted. The girls in my last line worked incredibly hard and I was very proud of every last one of them.

What other designers do you enjoy watching?

I actually am not a huge watcher of designers. I don’t have reliable Internet and no television, so I don’t have the means to stay up to date. I did enjoy the incredible creativity in Alexander McQueen’s designs before he passed away. I find that my interest is usually captured by Couture gowns and other formal wear. I especially enjoy designers who use recycled fabrics, and play with classic silhouettes.

Where can we find you?

The best place to keep up with Totally Trashed Fashion is on Facebook.
I am also working on getting my website running.
Any questions, comments, or commission requests can be sent to Rachel@TotallyTrashedfashion.com

Out of everything you’ve created, what one piece do you love the most?

That’s such a hard one! I think that my favorite piece to date is the DollHouse Dress made for Gabrielle Deede in my last line. I loved it because I was able to work with bookpages and tissue paper, but also did hand painting with nail polish as well as a glue I mixed on my own from crushed eyeshadow pallets. It was also the second dress I embellished with pieces of broken vintage jewelry, and all in all, it is the most antique and feminine dress I have made, which are two of my favorite things.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I find inspiration in a lot of different places. As far as materials go, I find inspiration literally everywhere. There are possibilities for alternative materials all over the place. Sometimes its some thing as simple as seeing a plastic bag being blown down the side of the street, or walking through a hardware store. A lot of times, the ideas just kind of come out of nowhere, and sometimes I don’t even know what exactly I am making until I am half-way through.
As far as the actual lines go, I tend to find my inspiration in the people I know. I like to say that my ability to construct my pieces runs in my family; my mom is an artist and my father is an engineer. But the actually heart of my pieces is something I find in my close friends. Want to make pieces which reflect the passionate nature and unique beauty in the people I know, so I try to work with each girl to build something which highlights the traits which already make them shine.

My next line is a line which is very personal to me. The six or seven piece line will be built with an old friend in mind, and reflect the friendship I had with her for over a decade. She became very ill a few years ago, and we spent what felt like forever trying to fight the system to get her help. In the end, My world was rocked almost exactly a year ago when she and I parted ways, and I am making this line to show the world how beautiful she was and always will be to me.
When this next line is finished, I am hoping to auction of each dress and donate all of the proceeds to local programs and research focused on helping those suffering from eating disorders of all kinds.

Stay turned for the next two parts.  They’ll be showing up over the next two weeks.  Rachel talks more about her Company and her experience down at the Portland Sugar Show, and finally we’ll talk with 2-3 of her models and find out what it was like to work for her.

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