It is time to RETHINK our relationship with fashion, and remember that any change is change. The problem is so large that we need to work together. If you don’t know where to start, mend your wardrobe, shop your closet, shop the consignment/vintage stores, go to a clothing swap, join your local buy nothin group, don’t give up on those family hand-me-downs, and when you add pieces to your wardrobe, add pieces that you would be willing to repair.
About Kristen (she/her, AKA the Upcycler)
Kristen McCoy has been upcycling for 29 years, and is equal parts designer, upcycler, tailor, problem-solver.
Growing up in a very small town in Minnesota, the nearest fabric store was 30 minutes away. Luckily she was the youngest of 3, and was able to upcycle her old clothes into purses and eventually took the leap into making clothing.
While sewing school at MCTC, McCoy learned that polyester has the same chemical make-up as PETE 1 water bottles, 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 take over 200 years to break down in the landfills. In 2008, Kristen stubbornly made a decision: she would make ALL of her designs out of secondhand and deadstock fabrics.
In 2009, Kristen moved to Washington DC and in 2010 opened Ginger Root Design with one of her best friends, Erin Orfanon (then Derge). The local artisan boutique was the home of the duo’s upcycled designs and tailoring business, specializing in revamping/recycling garments.
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. Kristen immediately rebranded as RETHINK Tailoring so she could prioritize her upcycling projects. The projects with the tight deadlines (bridesmaids dresses and suits that were left to the last minute) always took priority over the items with flexible timelines (aka family heirlooms, revamps of old pieces) and before she knew it, the passion projects were only a tiny part of the rack.
After her daughter was born in 2015, Kristen took a pause from tailoring to invent 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 (or longer). 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 studio at 3449 Bloomington Ave in the Powderhorn neighborhood in Minneapolis.