Fashion

Remi Lewis on Fighting the Fast Fashion Craze at Lower East Side Hotspot LAAMS

Sourcing secondhand fashion and curating femme-focused events with her business partner Sarina Soto on the third floor of LAAMS.

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Style and sustainability go hand in hand for vintage connoisseur and curator, Remi Lewis. Currently curating elevated eco-conscious selections at the Lower East Side hotspot LAAMS, along with business partner Sarina Soto, the multi-hyphenate has had a penchant for sourcing second hand pieces since high school.

“I’ve always had a particular fashion sense,” she shares with Hypebae. “I remember in high school spending hours trying to put together an outfit and everyone would always know me for my unique style. It was just a way for me to express my creativity and it definitely played a role in building my confidence during an awkward stage of my life.”

Continuing to champion self-confidence in herself and other women, Lewis handpicks high-end vintage goods for LAAMS’ REM & RI boutique that aim to make attendees of her femme-focused events feel as bold and beautiful as the pieces they pick. Devoutly dedicated to featuring the fashions of up-and-coming designers, including Louisa Leilani and Lucciare, the third floor of LAAMS often spotlights their signature silhouettes, at accessible price points, catering to the young creative community of freelancers and multifaceted artists in NYC. 

Aside from curating a conscious shopping sanctuary at LAAMS, Lewis also channels her creativity through music. Set to release the music video to her single “Drown” soon, the 24-year-old not only injects her individuality into her eye-catching ensembles but her UK-style sound as well. “I’ve always loved expressing myself through music. It was actually my first love before vintage curating came into my life but I find it beautiful how the two tie into each other,” she says. 

“One of my favorite things about making music is creating visuals and music videos. It really makes the song come to life and I also get to express my individual style by pulling my own looks for them. With this new music, I’ve really gone back to my UK roots; I was born and lived in London until I was nine and spend most of my summers there. I have pulled a lot of my sound inspiration from UK garage, drum and bass. Lily Allen [has also] been the lyrical genius that has inspired me all my life.  

In an interview with Hypebae, Remi Lewis reveals how she combats the fast fashion craze with Sarina Soto at LAAMSREM & RI boutique and how she navigates her creative crafts as both a vintage curator and music artist.

Where did your passion originate from to source vintage pieces?

It started off [by me] being extremely inspired by the fashion of the past. I always found myself drawn to the ‘70s, ‘90s and early 2000s in terms of style. I’d constantly save mood boards on Tumblr and Pinterest and I felt extremely inspired by a lot of the pop icons of the early 2000s. Another huge factor that played into it was that I felt extremely uncomfortable supporting fast fashion brands. Not only is fast fashion extremely detrimental to the environment, but the factory workers also endure horrific working conditions. Keeping it vintage meant that I could not only support my ideals in being against fast fashion, but I also knew that my outfits were going to be one of a kind.

Talk to me about the differences between sourcing pieces for yourself and for LAAMS. How different or similar is your sense of style from the pieces you pick for the store?

Well that’s always the hard part – I genuinely only source things that I love so, when I get home I try not to try everything on or else I’d want to keep it all. I’d say that my curation at LAAMS is literally an expression of my own personal style. The best part of it though is seeing someone try something on that I picked out and they leave so happy with a boost of confidence. That’s honestly the number one reason I love doing this so much. [I love] sharing the [beauty] of vintage clothing with others and making them feel beautiful and one of a kind.

Inside LAAMS, guests will find signature styles from up-and-coming designers making their mark in the industry. What inspired you to feature their fashions in-store?

I love to bring in up and coming female designers into the shop. All of the designers I bring in are ones that I have developed personal relationships with. I’ll see their clothing on IG or Depop and be like “Wow, I need the world to see this!” Some of the females I’ve highlighted in the shop are Louisa Leilani, Dawang and Lucciare designs. I genuinely think they are such talented individuals so, getting to share their work in my shop is literally an honor. You can definitely find me wearing their pieces and I really enjoy giving the run down on their work to customers whenever they ask.

 

 


 

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Why is it important for you to celebrate women and young creatives through your femme-focused events and diverse vintage selection?

I’ve always been a strong advocate for supporting other female creatives. It has been such a male dominated industry for so long, so for women to finally be recognized, seen and heard as power houses is something I’m truly grateful to be apart of.  I think it’s so important to support and share their work because they offer such a unique and creative outlook and I only hope that we come to together to inspire the next generations to come. There’s nothing like throwing an event that highlights female artists because you not only get to experience such undeniable talent, but you also get to connect these amazing souls together. Creating bonds and sticking together only makes us stronger.

Aside from being a vintage curator, you’re also a musician currently working on the music video for your single “Drown.” What is the difference between Remi the vintage curator, Remi the musician and Remi the style savant?

I’d say the main difference is with my vintage curation, I feel a lot of confidence in it but with music, I don’t always feel that way. I think when it comes to sharing your art with the world, doubts and insecurities can usually play a big part in it. Especially because I write my own music it can sometimes be hard to be vulnerable and feel comfortable sharing that side of me to the world. Everyday I’m learning to feel more confident in my art forms and know that if I’m genuine and true to myself, nothing else really matters. I think we live in a world where comparison plays a lot into our lives because everyone’s constantly sharing their wins on social media rather than the icky, hard parts. As an artist, it’s important to be transparent about this and honor all the range of emotions and complexities that make us human.

Do you have anything particular in store with LAAMS this month and for the rest of the year? What are some exciting things coming your way as a musician?

In terms of the shop, we have a lot planned. Sarina and I are definitely planning a lot of fun events, where will be able to showcase other female designers, artists and creatives of all kinds. I also really want to incorporate mental health advocates and organizations like the Lower East Side Girls Club. It would be a dream of mine to be able to mentor young females and the gender expansive youth in any way I possibly can. When it comes to the music side, I have a lot coming too. I’m shooting a couple of music videos and visuals for some songs that I’ve made. I felt like 2023 was an extremely hard year for me and I found it so hard to be creative in terms of music. This year, I’ve felt nonstop creativity spewing out of me so I’m really excited to share what I’ve been working on and what’s to come. I definitely have some fun drum and bass singles and some heartfelt R&B bops on the way.

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