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Designer of 'Upcycled' Clothing Sews Green Alternative to Fashion Week

By Mathew Katz | June 12, 2013 8:11am
  The fashion show will feature clothes by sustainable designer   Ashley McAleavy, among others.
Ashley McAleavy's "Upcycled" Dresses Will Be On Display at the Show
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CHELSEA — For Ashley McAleavy, every ripped dress is an opportunity.

The Upper West Side-based fashion designer's Remedy Designs specializes in creating sustainably made, one-of-a-kind clothing out of old raggedy items.

Using a process she calls "upcycling," the 28-year-old designer takes damaged pieces that may otherwise be headed for the dump and fixes them or redesigns them to be used again, with "added value."

McAleavy will join other green designers at a sustainable fashion show at the Tesla Motors dealership in Chelsea this September. The electric car-maker is hoping the green gala will give Fashion Week a jolt, providing an eco-friendly alternative to the week's Mercedes Benz-sponsored fashion extravaganza. 

The Tesla Sustainable Style Night will bring eco-friendly fashionistas together at the company's showroom at 511 W. 25th St., complete with a runway show and cocktail party among Tesla's electric vehicles.

"This is a more conscious way of doing fashion — and the fashion industry does not have a very good reputation for having sustainable business models," McAleavy said.

As part of her designs, she cuts, dyes, sews, alters or patches the clothes by hand to make a brand-new product, with dresses ranging in price from $45 to $419.

McAleavy said her works aren't just good for the planet — they help solve the age-old fear of running into someone else wearing the same dress you are.

"As a woman going to an event, she wants to know that no one else is wearing her dress," she said.

"Designers only really offer that to celebrities and top clients, and middle-of-the-range clients don't really know that no one else is wearing their dress unless it's one-of-a-kind — that's where I come in."

McAleavy approached Tesla with the concept, specifically intended to echo car giant Benz's much larger Fashion Week, and the company enthusiastically joined in.

"We share similar values, so it just lined up," she said.

"We're not at that huge of a level, but you never know where we'll go."

The Sustainable Style Night kicks off at the Tesla Showroom at 511 W. 25th St. on Sept. 9.