Owensboro native Reese walks Samsung New York fashion show modeling self-designed piece

September 28, 2022 | 12:10 am

Updated September 28, 2022 | 12:15 am

Samsung’s Climate Week show featured a familiar face for Owensboro residents on Saturday, as native Kelsey Reese modeled one of her handmade dresses from her business ReeseCycled.

Reese was invited to Samsung’s show to help promote the company’s sustainable efforts. She along with eight other designers from around the country were tasked with making pieces out of paper, metal, or electronic waste. 

“It’s the coolest thing that I’ve ever done and that is not an exaggeration. I just couldn’t believe how nice we were treated and the fact that I even was in New York City for my first ever fashion show,” Reese said.

While the materials were outside of her norm, the idea of being creative with her designs is something she has done for many of her pieces now.

By spotlighting smaller businesses in the sustainable fashion community, Reese felt thankful to be included in the conversation and to showcase her own work.

She said that oftentimes to her the separation between the tech and creative industries can come off as a bit competitive; however, being there showed that the two can coexist to showcase something in both mediums.

“I felt super honored. It was so interesting to me because Samsung is this tech giant,” she said. “…So for Samsung to see the value in things that creatives and designers are doing with it meant a lot to me. It was really special.”

The dress and the small purse she had to hold her phone — all produced out of paper — took her at least 20 hours to complete.

While she didn’t foresee that she would be modeling for Samsung in her first fashion show, being there fulfilled a wish that her younger self had longed for. The desire to open her own fashion business comes after years of filling notebooks, sketching designs ,and watching lots of Project Runway with her mom.

“I think when I get excited about an accomplishment with ReeseCycled, it’s 25-year-old Kelsey getting excited, but a lot of it is 9-year-old Kelsey getting excited because the first thing that I ever wanted to be was a fashion designer,” she said.

As she grew up, the idea of being a designer went to the back of her mind — but she never rid herself of the thought. She said that her family would always thrift shop and buy secondhand clothes. 

That continued through college and into her adulthood, and she eventually started selling her clothes secondhand — although non-altered. It wasn’t until after taking a theatre costuming class that she began altering clothes, grabbing something vintage, and breathing a new piece of life into it.

Sustainability was not at the forefront; it was simply a childhood habit she continued.

But eventually, she learned the effects shopping secondhand can have on the world and hopes to help encourage people to do so.

“There are so many reasons to care about shopping secondhand and if I can play just a small part in encouraging someone to buy something secondhand, whether it’s from me or it’s directly from a thrift shop or it’s just a hand-me-down from a friend, then I do feel a little bit better,” Reese said.

Now with ReeseCycled, she takes clothing or other pieces of fabric and flips them. Aside from clothing, she has made clothing from curtains, tablecloths, placemats, quilts and several other “blank canvases” as she calls them.

By the end of October, she plans to stock her website with more pieces made out of blankets and quilts for the colder months. She plans to include coats and pants in that release.

She’s thankful for all the support she receives from people wide and far. Whether it be someone in her hometown of Owensboro rocking a sweater she made or someone across the country sharing a jorset — a corset made from the top of jeans — proudly posting to their followers.

“It’s just as important to me that every single person who I send a product to is just is satisfied and is excited by what they’re receiving,” she said.

To keep updated with ReeseCycled, they are reese.cycled on all social media platforms.

September 28, 2022 | 12:10 am

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