Rebecca Rivera showed off her skills as a mix master of the literal and figurative. Opening her show with a duo of dancers who resembled ravers getting down at a hip-hop show, the New York-based designer merged influences from her childhood in Los Angeles and years as a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology. After all, her label’s name, Irishlatina, pays homage to her Irish-Mexican roots. She also informed her two-year-old business with lessons culled from watching “The True Cost,” Andrew Morgan’s 2015 documentary featuring Stella McCartney and other designers discussing the impact of the fashion industry on the planet.
For the Los Angeles presentation of her collection titled “Waste Not,” Rivera snipped and stitched secondhand garments into streetwear for a customer whom she described as “fun” but “conscious.” Some of the sweatshirts and basketball shorts didn’t look like they would move the fashion barometer very far, but Rivera showed youthful finesse via a bomber jacket patched together from a dozen T-shirts popping with neon graphics as well as slim overalls assembled from a cache of camouflage squares. She appealed directly to Millennial women who consider themselves “woke” activists with a T printed to claim: “No one was hurt in the making of this shirt.”
“My brand is a mix of different cultures: youth culture, skate culture, hip-hop culture,” Rivera said. Her customer gets it. “She wants to look cute but not at the cost of someone else,” she said.