Home / Lingerie From Landfill: One Designer’s Inspiring Scavenger Hunt
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We’re always fascinated by things that inspire lingerie designers, because they reveal the creative mind behind the business calculations that bring a garment to market.

Dutch designer Marlies Dekkers is like a visual stenographer, making note of design ideas during her numerous global travels. Gabrielle Adamidis from the Aussie label Hopeless watches old horror movies and finds inspiration for sleek undergarments. New Yorker Becca McCharen of Chromat Garments looks at towering skyscrapers and imagines how they might work as clothing for humans.

It’s probably fair to say, however, that there aren’t many lingerie designers who get their ideas from a garbage dump.

But Rachel Rector does.

The last time we checked in with the young Brooklyn designer, she had just shown her debut collection at Portland Fashion Week and was wrapping up a successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign.

Rachel has a sharp eye and likes to pair unexpected color combinations and shades in the same garment, creating a kind of color-blocked mosaic. But where did that idea come from?

Would you believe, from picking her way through the flotsam and jetsam of Dead Horse Bay (below), the former New York landfill site.


A trip to the site last fall produced a bounty of inspiration for her lingerie designs, she said.

“My collection for Unmentionable: A Lingerie Exhibition (at Portland Fashion Week) was accidentally inspired by colors and textures I found during my first visit to Dead Horse Bay,” Rachel told Lingerie Talk. “I was looking for inspiration, and happened to find it in the trash — faded/gradient fishing net, glass, old plastic toys, etc.”

You can see the results of Rachel’s scavenging in these photos, posted recently on her blog, which come from her first trip to Dead Horse Bay last year and a return expedition last month. The first photo below shows how it all comes together in a designer’s mind, with colorful fabric swatches paired with treasures recovered from the dump site.

There’s a long tradition of ‘found art’ in modern sculpture and contemporary American folk arts, but this may be the first time sometime has applied the principles of found art to fashion-forward lingerie.

As they say, one man’s garbage is another man’s … underwear?

Watch for pieces from Rachel Rector‘s debut collection to go on sale in her webshop soon. And to learn more about this up-and-coming designer, check out her article for Portland’s Lille Boutique about her visit to the factory that is manufacturing her garments.

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