In honor of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, amNY is celebrating up-and-coming New York designers who have a flair for fashion and helping the planet. We spoke with Justin Sellman of the men's fashion label Recession Rags.
Backstory: New Yorker Justin Sellman founded menswear brand Recession Rags last summer when he and his friends “couldn’t find shorts that fit the way we wanted them to at a reasonable price.” Before that, the 29-year-old worked in marketing, branding and sales for premium denim and lifestyle brands.
Eco-friendly goods: The South Williamsburg company does basics right — smart shorts and pants, reversible scarves and soft T-shirts — all made from larger design houses’ leftover fabrics. “It’s not really recycling, it’s more of a reusing,” Sellman said of the materials, which would be tossed if his company didn’t buy them. He also plans to incorporate organic materials into its designs in the future.
Another message: When he started out, Sellman looked to the Great Depression for inspiration. His research led him to the Federal Arts Project, an initiative in which President Roosevelt commissioned artists to create posters promoting health, parks and art. Those now adorn Sellman’s tees. “It fit as a branding identity which I could use to put on T-shirts, sharing something that had been hidden for the last 60 years,” he said.
Justin Sellman wears a scarf, $48, from his brand Recession Rags. T-shirts cost $38 and shorts are $58. (Photo: Marie Claire Andrea)