Hidden Opulence Helps Folx Rethink Their Relationship With Clothing Through Upcycling, Mending & Repairing


We have been wanting to feature this brand for quite some time. We strongly believe that the future of fashion needs to hone on rebuilding corrupt systems and look at how we consume and share those influences with our community. However, it’s important now more than ever to tap out of disposability culture. Sustainable fashion is very much about consuming less and finding ways salvage special pieces that you already own.. Therefore, we we were excited to connect with Drea Johnson, founder of Hidden Opulence. In addition to small batch production, this brand does alterations, mending, vintage repairs and up cycling to help everyone garner a new relationship with their clothes..

CHECK OUT THIS INTERVIEW:

What does the name Hidden Opulence represent and why did you start this company?

Photo by  Katie Reahl

Photo by Katie Reahl

For start, "Opulence" means luxurious or lavish and sometimes in a loud and flashy way. I decided on the brand name Hidden Opulence (Design House) because I feel like I’ve always sought out that lavish silver lining in everything. Hidden Opulence are those hidden gems of wealth, of all types, planted throughout your life that put everything else into perspective. Hidden Opulence represents the amazing things that already exist in your closet of home. When I collaborate to produce for local designers, I feel like I’m discovering their hidden opulence. When I produce, the tales and inspirations these designers have about their collections is something I truly treasure. 

As for started the company, I have to give Leah, owner of Artifact Creative Recycle, big credit for encouraging me to push forward with finally creating my own biz. I’ve been freelancing for years, but it had never been a brand. I tend to offer local designers assistance mostly during the rush of holiday and trade shows, but I’ve always had this dream to be available to help everyday people in some capacity with their wardrobe. Hidden Opulence is that concept realized. A one stop shop where folx from the community and local designers can both receive assistance with easy access.

How do upcycling / mending / repairing as part of the sustainable fashion conversation? 

I think upcycling, mending and repairing have always been part of the conversation, but due to the rise of fast fashion we've been brainwashed to believe otherwise. With Sustainable fashion, garments are typically chosen with ethics and quality in mind. When you take the time to invest in a piece that's timeless, it's certainly more nature to figure out how to let it stand the test of time through mending and repairing. If the garment has gone past the point of repair, it can be renewed into something else.     

Photo by  Katie Reahl

Photo by Katie Reahl

How do we get people more involved in fixing our clothes and/or giving their clothes a second life? 


I hope Hidden Opulence helps folx rethink the relationship they have with clothing and what sustainability can look like for them. In today's day and age it's pretty uncommon to have a seamstress or tailor, when 100 years ago many people had this relationship even if the relationship was with themselves. I think, just like fast fashion untaught us about alterations and mending, the apparel industry and conversations around sustainable fashion are going to have to shed more light on this old world idea. There's just been such a disconnect. Just as our homes and cars require love and maintenance in order to be passed down or traded -so do our clothes! I love that Hidden Opulence sparks one on one conversations about how to care for your clothing, how to restyle your items to extend their lifetime while providing services to do so. 



Does being a Black Woman/ Woman of color inspire your brand? If so how? 

Photo by  Katie Reahl

Photo by Katie Reahl


It has. I grew up being told I would stand out for better and for worse. Before the brand I really tried to do what I could to fit in while subtlely standing out. I regularly started to remind myself that it's okay to stand out. Now I've let that sentiment bleed into my branding and what my brand aligns with. I’m attracted to loud, colorful, texture and gaudy.  It's who I am inside and out and I feel it pays homage to my Black and Mexican cultures. I hope Hidden Opulence speaks out to anyone who feels like a style rebel,  and create a safe space for any body from any background. Your wardrobe is uniquely yours, Hidden Opulence is here to help you achieve and maintain that. 


Do you have any advice for your everyday fashionista at home? 


I think it really depends where your style lines lie if you are a fashionista. Are you minimal? Are you a maximalist? If you are minimalist it's all about finding those pieces that speak to timeless trends and spending the time to find a alterations seamstress or tailor (hit up Hidden Opulence if you are in pdx!) to maintain them so they can last for years to come. For the maximalist, look for ways to swap clothes to refresh your style or sell/trade your items to upgrade to new/ new to you items. It's not only ethical for your wardrobe, but ethical for your wallet too! When planning alterations for this style type, I encourage you to think about the wearer after you. Ask your alterations sewist or tailor to find a way to hide fabric so this item can grow with you or the next wearer.  

Photo by  Katie Reahl

Photo by Katie Reahl