What do you get when you cross fabulous vintage style with good old fashion activism? You get Retrofit Republic, a one of a kind eco-friendly fashion studio.
For founders Jenny and Julia, being fashionably sustainable just comes naturally. “”Coming from an immigrant family, it was a necessity to thrift. It was also an outlet for creative styling because I didn’t want people to know where my clothes came from. Unlike today, there was a stigma for wearing thrifted and second-hand clothes,” says Jenny. Everything in their studio, from the clothes to the décor has been thrifted. “It’s not just about being financially smart, it’s also about sustainability,” says Julia.
A single yard sale. That was the spark for what is now Retrofit Republic. But how is it that one goes from a single yard sale to a thriving business? The answer, Necessity. They moved to San Francisco, and the fact was that they just had too much stuff. This started the yard sale that would eventually birth Retrofit Republic.
They were surprised at the turnout they got. “The act of the yard sale was amazing because we got to connect with the community,” says Julia, and it is this connection with the community that keeps them going. With a year in business under their belt these ladies are still going strong. “We really have our support network to thank; the cheerleaders and ambassadors that keep us going.” “We are only as strong as our community, so whatever we build, we want to take our community with us.”
Supporting organizations working to increase visibility on issues surrounding Asian Americans, Women, and LGBT, Jenny and Julia want to change the face of fashion. In their most recent lookbook, they highlight their role models. They selected a several individuals of all shapes and backgrounds that have made a difference within their communities.
In an upcoming project collaboration with Thick Dumpling Skin, the ladies of Retrofit Republic are creating a safe space for Asian Americans suffering from eating disorders and body dsymorphia to share their story. The Real Body Manifesto is aimed to raise awareness on the unique body dysmorphia and eating disorders have on the Asian American/ Pacific Islander community. This project will select 6 individuals to take part in a professional photoshoot, which included everything from hair and make-up to the graphic design work. These pictures will accompany their personal stories.
“So much of our bodies is picked apart, so this is a chance to take it back,” says Julia.
These ladies inspire those around them to do good… while looking fabulous.