Fashion 89 : Rags to Britches & Trendy Trekkers
Melanie Shatner and Kiki Naify, both 24, love clothes so much that they redesign or embellish almost everything they buy.
“There’s always a way to improve on things, no matter how much we like them at first. So we dye it or change it or add things,” Shatner says, “because each outfit has to fit the image we have of ourselves.”
Shatner, daughter of actor William Shatner and an aspiring actress herself, recently went into business with her friend Naify because every time they wear their decorated denims “people want to buy them right off our backs.”
The two buy tattered jeans or new ones that they pummel and soak until they look worn. Then they begin to reconstruct, creating a theme for each pair.
For their homage to Chanel: a set of gold buttons here, a bit of gold chain there, a delicate coin purse appliqued high on the thigh. Oh, and a black lace hankie in the back pocket to match the lace visible through tears on the leg. And don’t forget the contrasting pant cuffs, a sort of trademark of the two.
Shatner wore Christmas-theme jeans to recent parties and was “hounded,” she says. “Several people wanted the very ones I had on.” She didn’t sell, of course, but took orders, which she and her partner quickly filled, charging from $70 to $100 per pair.
The pair call themselves Art Thou Jeans, (213) 658-1108 effective Monday. They sell only by word of mouth and accept only about five orders at a time. “It’s small and it’s fun. If it were to get larger, we might not like it as much,” Shatner says.
The actress is not a one-career type. She also works with her boyfriend, Cortes, an actor and hair stylist.
“We help people get ready for parties. If they don’t have the right clothes, we shop with them and then take them back home. Cortes does the hair and we put them together so they look great.”
They charge $30 an hour for their party-primping services, which have a “take-it-off-the-chandelier-and-wear- it-in-your-hair mentality,” Shatner says. “We see little locks and keys and we turn them into earrings, for example.”