Sean Barron’s and Jamie Mazur’s repurposed denim brand, Re/Done, aims to drive consumers towards sustainable fashion, individuality and keeping heritage brands relevant.
In 2014, Sean Barron and Jamie Mazur launched Re/Done, which reconstructs vintage pieces from denim to leather jackets. Having met through mutual friends, the duo launched the brand in downtown Los Angeles. It was founded on a love of vintage and a desire to reconstruct Levi’s jeans on a large scale as well as adapt vintage jeans for a modern female customer. Initially, only two reconstructed Levi’s jeans styles were sold: The Straight Skinny and the Relaxed Straight. Today, Re/Done sells its own line of men’s and women’s clothing, as well as the repurposed range. They decline to reveal wholesale prices, but retail prices range from $80 (£62.10) for T-shirts to $2,000 (£1,550) for leather jackets. It is sold in more than 300 stores worldwide, including Matchesfashion, Liberty and Harrods in the UK.
Drapers speaks to the founders to find out what inspired them to build a brand based on repurposing denim.
Why did you launch the brand?
Sean Barron: We set out on a journey to bring American heritage to the luxury market through the reconstruction of vintage Levi’s and reimagination of the most classic Hanes fits and fabrics.
How is your brand connected to Levi’s?
Jamie Mazur: When Re/Done launched we were not affiliated with Levi’s in any way. We called the jeans Re/Done’s, but they still had the pocket stitching and Levi’s red tab, which put us in kind of a grey area legally.
About nine months after the launch of the brand, we received a cease and desist letter from the legal team at Levi’s. In the same week we were ed by the office of Levi’s president saying he wanted to speak with us.
SB: The company is so massive that the two departments were not aware that the other had reached out to us. JC [James Curleigh], the president, is a really forward-thinking guy and, instead of seeing Re/Done as something to shut down, he saw the value that we were adding to the Levi’s brand. From there, we entered into a formal partnership that allows us to co-brand the denim, Re/Done | Levi’s. We also engage in joint marketing ventures that elevate both brands.
What were you both doing before you launched Re/Done?
SB: I have worked in the industry for more than 20 years. Before Re/Done, I co-founded womenswear brand Katayone Adeli, and then launched lifestyle brand Joie in 2000.
JM: I used to have a company called Underground Denim, which was basically a mobile sample sale of vintage denim.
What first drew you to working in fashion?
SB: Everyone has a relationship with fashion, so I wanted to tap into that.
JM: An infatuation with anything vintage.
How would you describe the ethos of the Re/Done?
JM: Sustainable, heritage, iconic, the dichotomy between classic and modern.
What is the best part of your job?
SB: Creating products that people want and love.
JM: Seeing people resonate with American heritage styles, which has been our focus area, but that might change in the future.
What have been the major learning curves?
JM: It took nine months to create our first pattern for the reconstructed Levi’s jeans. We were attempting to do something that had never been done before, so it required a lot of experimentation and patience.
Why is the repurposing process so important?
SB: Repurposing vintage jeans just makes sense to us, as you work with denim that has stood the test of time while also reducing waste. We knew there were so many raw materials just sitting around in warehouses and wanted to tap into that rather than try to emulate something that already existed. We didn’t want to mess with something that wasn’t broken in the first place.
JM: All of our repurposed pieces are handmade and one-of-a-kind. Each has its own wear and distressing, so no two pieces will look exactly the same. It is a complicated process when undertaken at scale.
How would you describe your own styles?
SB: Casual and easy.
JM: Anything vintage – I wear vintage every day. I love the story behind every vintage piece.
How do you keep yourselves motivated and creative?
SB: I just want to be innovative, and always want to do something better.
JM: I always want to find a way to create pieces that are relevant to current trends but rooted in American heritage. Historical references really inspire me.
Is there anyone in the industry you particularly admire?
SB: Virgil Abloh for breaking down long-standing barriers in fashion and bringing street cool to high fashion.
JM: Ralph Lauren for pioneering true American fashion and creating the most iconic American lifestyle brand.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
SB: When the idea is there, put it out there. Don’t let someone else do it first.
JM: Do what you’re passionate about. You will do what you love the best.
What advice would you give to yourself at the start of your career?
SB: Trust your ideas. You’re probably right.
JM: You’ll be the most successful in doing what you love, so stick with that.
Where do you see the future of the brand?
SB: I would love to have a fashion week show.
JM: I want to create more reconstructed styles and see the industry prioritise sustainability.
Last fashion purchase
SB: Off-White x Nike Airforce
JM: Three-pack of deadstock white Hanes T-shirts from the 1960s
SB: Noto, Sicily
JM: Amangiri, Utah
Last book you read
SB: People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry
JM: [Architecture book] California Captured
Last film you watched
SB: Transylvania 3 (I have an 8-year-old daughter)
JM: Midnight In Paris
SB: Box boy at a grocery store
JM: Demolition work
Dream job (apart from current job)
SB: Being on vacation forever
What would we find you doing at the weekend?
SB: Hanging out with my wife and daughter
JM: Hopefully something fun