RETHINK Tailoring’s mission is to get as many garments that ALREADY exist BACK into rotation. We do this by altering/upcycyling/repairing old forgotten items in the closet. Additionally the in-house designs are made from secondhand or surplus fabrics. After noticing a large surge in interest of those wanting to learn to sew, owner Kristen McCoy knew it was time to expand RETHINK into a storefront where she could teach others what she does. There is only so much one person can do alone, but by building a community around reuse and upcycling we can do so much more, together.
Owner Kristen McCoy is a Minnesota, small-town farm girl that loves to sew, design AND recycle.
She has been sewing since around the age of 8, when her grandmother gave Kristen her old Singer sewing machine from the 60’s. She taught her the basics of the machine, and Kristen began teaching herself to sew.
Growing up in a very small town, the nearest fabric store was 30 minutes away. Luckily she was the youngest of 3, and got full permission to rip apart the hand-me-downs that she had outgrown. Primarily, she turned everything into a purse. She didn’t realize until much later that what she was doing had a name–upcycling.
After years and years of sewing and developing her own techniques, Kristen knew she needed to learn more. She wanted to learn everything about sewing clothing, so she went to sewing school at MCTC. In school, she learned the industry standards for garment construction, draping, pattern-making, alterations, and how to work with specialty fabrics.
In the textiles class Kristen learned that polyester has the same chemical make-up as PETE 1 water bottles. We recycle those bottles, but not the fabric, and it dawned on her how wasteful the industry really is. Many items in stores are not made to last, so we need to go buy them again and again. The industry has adopted the “disposable” mentality. In addition, so many of these garments will not break down in the landfills. Kristen was devastated and questioning the career she was planning to pursue.
Kristen stubbornly made a decision: she either needed to find a way to feel like she was not adding to the wasteful problems of the fashion industry, OR she needed to find a new field. Looking back on her childhood, Kristen realized that she was perhaps a bit smarter than she had given myself credit for. She would continue recycling and find ways to make it easier for others to recycle clothing as well.
In 2009, Kristen moved to Washington DC with her now husband. Shortly after in 2010, she opened Ginger Root Design with one of her best friends, Erin Orfanon (then Derge). It was the home of the duo’s tailoring business, specializing in revamping/recycling garments, in addition to basic tailoring. It was also a place for the 2 friends to sell their eco-friendly designs and feature other local artists in DC.
After an amazing 5 year run, both Erin and Kristen decided to close Ginger Root and began their individual home businesses as they both prepared for expanding their families. In 2015, Erin has launched Confetti Tailoring (a tailoring service for bridal, formal, and vintage). Kristen launched RETHINK Tailoring with the main goal of making recycling a legitimate shopping option for one’s professional and casual wardrobe.
After her daughter was born in 2015, Kristen took a pause from tailoring to develop a concept she dreamt about for years: resizable baby clothing. She was shocked it didn’t already exist! After a very fun and challenging process, Kristen invented and started producing a dress that fit from 3 months through 4 years. Ginger Bean Clothing was officially born. Kristen moved back home to Minnesota with her family in April 2017. She continued work on Ginger Bean, and her son was born in early 2018.
During early summer of 2019 Kristen took a pause from sewing to spend time with the kiddos and think about her next steps. She realized it was time to reboot RETHINK, in Minneapolis, but this time with a storefront where she could teach. Kristen began taking on clients out of her home studio in September of 2019 as she prepared for the buildout of the new storefront at 3449 Bloomington Ave in the Powderhorn neighborhood in Minneapolis.
RETHINK Tailoring & Sewing Lounge had it’s Grand Opening on March 14th, 2020 and closed the next day due the COVID-19. Kristen’s design and tailoring philosophy has always been to get creative when there isn’t a clear solution, or when a project seems impossible. That skill has definitely been put to use.
Kristen began sewing masks for the hospitals and made tutorials to help with the community mask-making efforts. She is currently making masks to sell to the community using surplus cotton she originally bought for the Ginger Bean line, and continues making masks to donate to shelters and other organizations in need.
She will get back to upcycling when the time is right as that will always be a a part of her. But the needs of the community have changed, so she will do whatever she can do to help, and will fight hard to keep this storefront open so she can show it to you when the time is right.
Keep Calm and Sew On.