The Austin-based brand repurposes antique textiles to one-of-a-kind quilt coats and bandana dresses.
By Emma Moneuse.
Based in Austin, Texas is a small team of creatives dedicated to repurposing vintage textiles into long-lasting, colorful coats and dresses. That team, known as Psychic Outlaw, was formed through designer Rebecca Wright’s lifelong passion of designing and repurposing clothing. As a child, Wright even dressed her Barbies in the tiny clothing creations she made. Her passion turned into a BFA in craft and fiber arts and later evolved into Psychic Outlaw.
The brand only utilizes used materials, mainly, bandanas and quilts. Wright was inspired both by the quilts her grandmother would make and the women of Gee’s Bend: a small community of African American women in Alabama who have created quilt masterpieces since the early 20th century. “Quilt makers in general have always been a major inspiration to me and my art. When I was doing a lot of weaving, I would base all of my weavings and projects on antique quilts, drawing color inspiration from the Women of Gee’s Bend—their works have a deep authenticity of using what you have to make something beautiful and this idea has always spoken to me,” explains Wright over email to Mission.
Customers have two options when purchasing a Psychic Outlaw coat: they can mail in a quilt of their own or they choose one of Psychic Outlaw’s quilts and customize a jacket design. Every coat is hand sewn by an entirely Austin-based team of sewists in Rebecca Wright’s home studio.
Wright has always been inspired by the idea of “using what you have to make something beautiful.” For her, repurposing is the most efficient way to create. “Sustainability is extremely important to me because it is the only thing practical in my eyes,” says Wright. “All of our materials are able to be sourced in Texas and even the new fabrics we order are made in the U.S. and are eco-hemp material. We use shipping supplies that are recyclable and try to repurpose anything we can.”
Wright also believes in making basic, staple designs. She doesn’t want to be pressured by the idea of fashion seasons to do new things, instead she wants Psychic Outlaw coats to be a piece that can stay in peoples’ closets for a long time. “Just like a piece of vintage workwear that can stay cool forever! I view our pieces as new-vintage,” Wright explains.
As their self described “handmade magic” continues to fill closets in Texas and beyond, Wright hopes for many future creative opportunities. She lives “without expectations or plans” as to never be disappointed. It is exactly that free spirited energy that makes Psychic Outlaw stand out. “I am on an unending creative cycle to satisfy myself. It leads and I follow!”
Image credit: Shelby Rahe