Walking around the Urbn Grl gift shop in downtown Winston-Salem, there is a rack of distressed shirts that catches the eye of almost every patron of the store. This rack is constantly being updated and changed out as the pieces sell, and they are never the same. The mastermind of these wearable art pieces is Danielle Spaulding, owner and founder of Deestroyed Apparel. Starting this business only a year ago, she is now a staple in Urbn Grl, as well as doing online sales through her Instagram page @dee_spaulding and popping up at local markets around the Triad.
Her business started, believe it or not, from social media pictures of garments she was distressing and wearing herself. She began posting these photos just for fun and to share with her friends, then started getting raving comments about them. After six months of encouragement from her followers, as well as an extra push from loved ones, she started selling upcycled pieces online and her business snowballed from there, with her now selling at two boutiques.
Danielle’s creative process begins with hitting up thrift shops all over the Triad area, and beyond. She spends three days a week shopping around from thrift shop to thrift shop looking for the perfect clothes to act as her canvas for her creations. When she has amassed a sufficient amount of clothing items, she begins the harder portion of playing around to decide what is to be done with each piece. With processes that vary from adding cutouts, placing zippers on tees, and artistically adding bleach spots (among many other techniques), she spends several days experimenting with the clothes until they are just right and ready to go on to their next homes. Splitting the pieces up between her online sales, pop-up shops, and boutique deliveries, her items get spread to happy folks all over. So far, she has had nothing but positive feedback from her customers.
This move back towards the grunge days of refurbishing clothes can be attributed to both the fashion trends bringing us back to the ‘90s, as well as an overall trend of environmental consideration when it comes to sourcing the items in our lives. By taking old items that somebody else is finished with and making them our own, we are lessening our carbon footprint while ensuring that nobody else will show up to the party wearing the same outfit as us. This trend is hitting not only clothing but also home furnishings. More and more people, and small business owners, are refurbishing old items found in thrift stores, estate sales, or even on the side of the road during bulk trash pick-up season, and upgrading them to make fashionable, one of a kind statement pieces around the home. The dirty pot on the side of the road can be cleaned and repainted to house a classy indoor parlor palm tree in your living room, next to the vintage teacups that are now home to your favorite air plants
While some of us have a strong DIY game, not everybody has the skill, time, or patience to be able to successfully turn an outdated piece of clothing into something fresh and inspired. Luckily for us, companies like Deestroyed Apparel exist and can help us out with this by doing the work for us. Check out Danielle’s supply online on her Instagram page @dee_spaulding, and at Urbn Grl in downtown Winston-Salem – 908 Burke St.