Reinventing vintage clothing

Katherine Divas is a painter, designer, and thrifter who screen prints her work exclusively on second-hand clothing. As fast fashion and the mass production of clothing continues to have negative impacts on the environment, many people have turned to thrifting as a cheaper, more eco-friendly alternative. To Divas, this is important because she believes we don’t need fast fashion to stay in style.

“It’s cool I could use my creative side to take used clothes and turn it into something else,” Divas said. “You don’t need fast fashion and it’s a cool recycling thing. Everything is recycled. You get it thrifted or traded with people, or I can wear some of the outfits and when I don’t want it anymore, I could just sell it or something. Anyone could do it.”

Everything she prints on is already used. Divas mainly looks for clothing without something already on it, going for crew necks like vintage Champions or vintage Hanes to screen her art. Her love for fashion and second-hand clothing came from her family’s business back in East LA, when her dad and grandma started selling at flea markets.

“He started to see the fashion part of it and saw that shoes and leather belts sold, so he followed it and he ended up with this warehouse. He has a raghouse,” Divas said. “Always being around him and always being at flea markets is something I enjoyed doing. Now that I’m [in Monterey], I don’t have access to doing business with him where I can just look through the rag house so now, I go to Goodwill and go thrifting.”

Depending on the condition, typically the older the item is, the better. “I like my things to stress cause it adds a bit of character,” she said. “In terms of vintage clothes, I have to do some research depending on the item, but usually my things are $15, $20 bucks.”

Divas’ style is heavily influenced by her community back in East Los Angeles, with psychedelic elements.

“I want to represent where I’m from. That’s where you get the feeling of LA culture. The psychedelic stuff, I think it’s great to be open-minded and a little weird. I feel like a lot of my best experiences were after I tried psychedelics. I just understood things differently and every time, I see more shades of color or new color pallets and I could always take it back with me. I just like to make my things a little bit trippy.”

You can check out more of Divas’ art and clothing on her Instagram @_heartkine_.

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