Drink Up These Custom Built Designs: Retro Shreds

She’s a Rockabill woman covered with punk rock inspired tattooes. Much of her best body work is by tattooer, Patrick Conlon. A music junkie that calls record stores, one of her favorite places in a world. She is known to ride a greyhound bus for 36 hours just to catch a band perform live. The music as well as style of Debbie Harry, Sharon Jones and Kim Lenz so compliment her designs.
This punk rocker lady at heart has worked in coffee houses, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, antique stores. You may have seen her around Charm City and most likely she knows what your favorite beverage is. After her shift, she is sewing up something special that any vintage lovers would love. Say hello to Alana Felton of Retro Shreds.
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“I never aspired to be a fashion designer,” Felton said. But I’ve always been good with my hands. My slogan for Retro Shreds is “Vintage Inspired. Custom Built.” I don’t consider my designs to be art, or even artistic. They’re straight forward re-imaginings of fashions from the 1940s and 1950s. They’re built to last and they’re practical, classy and playful at the same time. They harked a sense of nostalgia while still being realistic.”

Despite her love for retro silhouettes, Felton had a strong desire to be Punk growing up in the suburbs of the Big Apple. From dying her hair to altering thrift store clothes, she transformed into a teen that flavored plaid skirts, ripped T-shirts, studded jackets and bum-flaps. And, not to mention becoming an avid record collector.
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“A whole lot of Wanda Jackson and Janis Martin records later, I was sewing circle skirts and playsuits,” Felton said. My older sister, Eleasa, also happened to be going through a rockabilly phase at the time and she was my first dress form, model and push to start my sewing as a business. On July 4, 2008, Eleasa had business card printed and we wore my designs to a rockabilly weekender in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. ‘Retro Shreds‘ was born.”
Felton, a self-taught designer, is an expert in recreating fashions of 40s and 50s. The Retro Shreds designer’s first Retro Shreds masterpiece, “The Debuntante” is still available for purchase today.
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“Originally, the whole concept behind Retro Shreds was that I’d buy fabric in small quantities (only enough of each fabric to build one dress), therefore guaranteeing every customer that she would have an absolute original,” Felton said. It was a novel idea, but of course, it didn’t work. Too many times I heard, ‘But I want THAT dress in THAT fabric’ when I wore or put up a dress on display. A couple of years ago, I started buying fabric in larger, but still limited, quantities. Now, you can have THAT dress in THAT fabric or you can order it in an original fabric. All of my designs are still made-to-order, custom built to the customer’s specific instructions and measurements.”
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In five years, Felton hopes to create a brick and mortar store. But in the meantime, she is adding new garments to her catalog and hoping to expand into menswear.
“I’d like to urge y’all to Shop Local, or at least Shop Made-in-America. And don’t forget to tip your waitress/barista/bartender”. –Alana Felton of Retro Shreds.
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Check out Retro Shreds here: www.retroshreds.com and here: www.retroshreds.etsy.com
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