for good luck is breathing new life into your prom and wedding dresses
How Olivia Horan turned her love of found vintage into a NYC-based label, lessening the the environmental impact of formalwear traditionally only worn once.
Olivia Horan wearing For Good Luck.
Founded in May 2018 by 21-year old Olivia Horan, the New York based brand For Good Luck breathes new life into vintage evening wear. Featuring creations such as corseted tops constructed from repurposed wedding gowns and prom dresses, the brand’s pieces are more than just items of clothing – they are stories of love, life, and a journey to a more sustainable future.
Horan’s love of vintage can be traced all the way back to her early teen years, thrifting in her hometown with her mother, and the advent of Instagram. “I started selling vintage on Instagram when I was around 14,” Horan says. “I think that this was when Instagram first started and when everyone was trying to really figure it all out. I wasn’t really about [posting] myself, instead I really identified with clothes and the clothes that I wore. A lot of this came from being 14 and having a full-figured body and not being able to fit into Abercrombie or Hollister, I just couldn’t wear any of that. Growing up in suburbia the only other options [at the time] were LOFT. But where I did grow up was kind of this really artsy, little historical town where there are a lot of vintage stores.”
Over time, Horan accumulated pieces of found vintage, each one holding its own unique story. When she moved to New York City to attend the New School, first for Environmental Science and then for Urban Planning after a major change, her vintage collection followed. Through this, as well as a succession of fashion industry experiences – an earlier internship at a corporate formalwear company, an internship at Vogue, and a job with New York designer Susan Alexandra – that Horan noticed her interests beginning to diverge. It was when Horan decided to cut a vintage piece into a going out shirt that garnered compliments from friends that her vision of For Good Luck really began to crystallize.
So far For Good Luck has released two collections: The Prom Collection is the brand’s first and spotlights vintage evening gowns, reimagined as tops that could easily be worn with a pair of denim jeans as they could with a satin skirt. The designs are inspired by the colorful prom dresses of the 70’s and 80’s, exaggerated sleeves and all. The second collection, Cake Cake Cake, instead focuses on recycled wedding gowns rich with history, many which were salvaged from older women in Horan’s hometown of Doylestown, Pennsylvania. “Hearing these [older women’s] love stories and them showing me their wedding pictures has been this really cool process,” says Horan. Each item is also handmade by Horan who taught herself how to sew, “YouTube was my best friend for awhile,” she laughs.
The idea of repurposing vintage may elicit visions of simple stitched fixes and the addition of small embellishments. However, Horan goes beyond this traditional trope and takes it even further, creating beautiful pieces along the way. Skirts are chopped off and white bodices are dyed colorful hues, destroying societal constructs in the process. White bridal dresses are traditionally a symbol that women are virginal, fragile creatures – For Good Luck challenges this notion. Each deconstructed design is a sort of phoenix rising from the ashes, or at least from the local thrift store or closet. “Repurposing vintage has usually been looked upon as adding on a patch or redoing denim,” Horan says, “it is not really looking at the deconstruction of garments that, I feel, are also held to some sort of sacred level. When I first started [deconstructing wedding gowns] everyone was kind of taken aback and would say to me, ‘How could you do that?’ and I would respond, ‘How could you just let it sit in your closet for 50 years?!’”
And with the current state of the world how could we even afford to be more wasteful? According to research, fast fashion is one of the top polluters in the world, and globally we are consuming approximately 400% more than we did just twenty years ago. Beyond consumption, the actual chemicals and pollutants found in textiles are contaminating our resources – thousands of microplastics are released into the water system from just a single wash of a synthetic fabric. “There are a few things where sustainability right now is such a buzz word,” says Horan. “I think sustainability’s message shouldn’t just be a branding point but it should already be integrated into the practice of the design, and into fashion especially. To be a sustainable business in fashion you have to really break down consumer habits in buying clothes – I mean, it is important how the clothes are made, but I think breaking down the habits of how we buy things and how we wear our clothes is important. I have yet to come out to say that I am a sustainable brand because I understand that there is a lot that comes along with that.”
In the meantime, Horan is working towards figuring out a more environmentally-friendly solution for packaging, (“Packaging is so hard,” she shares), developing a sustainable bridal collection, and continuing to create pieces that are deeply rooted in story and how it makes the wearer feel. “[When I worked for Susan Alexandra] she taught me kind of how when building a brand you have to look into how your products make people feel,” Horan says, “And I think that is a beautiful thing. I think a lot of upcoming brands are incorporating that story, and I think that story is really important.”