A hole in his favorite jeans led College of Charleston grad José Chiriboga to an aha moment and a new business: repurposing worn denim into stylish jackets. We caught up the with Remu Apparel co-founder and designer to find out about what inspires him and how to make your wardrobe more environmentally friendly.
Q Do you have a go-to item that you find yourself wearing all the time?
A I was born and raised in the mountains of Ecuador, so I admit I have a thing for flannels—especially from Patagonia or United by Blue. Odds are if you run into me, I’ll be wearing one.
Q What’s your favorite piece in the new collection?
A The Sierra Reversible Jacket— we wanted to mix our two most popular jackets—the REMake and the Peguche—and create a reversible version. We are really happy with the results: a stylish rugged-looking denim on one side and an Andean wool coat on the other.
Q Describe your personal style.
A I prefer earthy colors—my favorite brown pants by Taylor Stitch, a button down or a flannel with a T-shirt, and a jacket or a vest over it all. I always have on my El Ganso brown Palavega boots.
Q What was the first piece you designed?
A The Remu REMake Jacket; we took a traditional design, handcrafted it using second-hand jeans as raw material, and created a fusion with Ecuadorian culture by lining the jacket with a fabric made by the people of Otavalo.
Q What do you enjoy in your free time?
A I love to travel and spend time outdoors. I always carry my camera with me. The Sony Alpha 7 series is amazing! The 7R IV is on top of my Christmas list. Let’s hope Santa comes through.
Q How can consumers work sustainable fashion into their wardrobes?
A Look at what you already have and extend its life span. Think about thrift stores when you want to add to your closet—and when you need to dispose of items. It’s impressive, all the things you can find. Locally, Red Rose Vintage [pictured below] is my favorite. Research the brands you are buying; there are great companies, such as Patagonia and Prana, working to have transparent processes and great products.
Q What is your must-have product for traveling?
A A Cotopaxi backpack or an Away rolling bag
Photographs Courtesy of (3) Remu Apparel, (Flannel) United by Blue, (pants) Taylor Stitch, (Shoes) El Ganso, (bag) Cotopax, & (truck) Red Rose Vintage