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Happy Clothes for Practical People
Mara Hoffman has become a reliable and sustainable go-to for fun, functional...
In May 2018, Olivia Horan launched her line For Good Luck, by chance. She was working on a photoshoot that required sourcing a lot of vintage prom dresses. When all was said and done, she was left with a stunning collection, but not quite sure what to do with them. So, she chopped one up into a cute crop top. Soon enough, friends, family, and strangers were asking her where they could get one.
Next came the creation of the wedding top—one of her most well-known pieces. A high school friend’s mom had a wedding dress that she wasn’t going to repurpose, so she gifted it to Horan, who dyed it pink and turned it into a gorgeous top. “We are told our wedding is going to be the most important day of our lives,” she explains. “So a garment that is designed for that reason obviously holds some sort of significance. But for me personally, to take apart that garment and dye it bright colors to be turned into a garment to be worn everyday has a lot of significance of redefining that narrative.”
After Horan created her very first wedding dress top, she went to Facebook to scour for more. “I'm from a small town in Pennsylvania and we have a Facebook group for our town,” she explains. “I wrote in the Facebook group, ‘Hey, if anybody is getting rid of a wedding gown, I will gladly take it and turn it into something that will be used again.’ I had about 50 women message me.”
With the first 50 dresses, Horan asked each woman about their love story and wedding and created an aesthetic that matched up, whether inspired in color or overall shape. “My grandmother helps me, we hand-sew and hand-dye everything,” she says. “So the first step is to take apart the dress, which was so symbolic to me. I was thinking, I’m really working with this beautiful garment that somebody spent thousands of dollars on and it's so significant, but obviously I got over that.” Each top is a week-long process to make and every single wedding top is entirely one-of-a-kind.
Some of the most popular wedding dress tops are the ones that Horan has tie-dyed in a rainbow of colors. Since wedding dresses are often a mix of different natural and synthetic fabrics, the dye spreads out and lends itself to an interesting pattern each time. Because of the popularity of her tie-dye wedding tops, earlier this year she also launched tie-dye matching sweats and face masks. However, her other best-seller is unexpectedly, wedding tops in the color black, which she admits she was a bit superstitious about at first. Horan takes inspiration from a lot of the styles of the late 1960s and early 1970s, with Priscilla Presley being her biggest muse.
New York City, too, has been one of the brand’s biggest influences. “Right now a lot of people are talking about how New York is dying,” she says. “But New York is the only place that, you know, as a small brand, my dreams and ideas can really come true.”
Part of the fun of a For Good Luck top is you can wear it anywhere, and there’s a world of styling opportunities. Horan mostly wears hers with a pair of well-loved jeans and sneakers, and if you scroll through the brand’s Instagram, you’ll also see that the tops look great with patterned shorts or skirts. “ I think that energy from the wedding is still carried in those shirts, which is really special,” she adds.
Still, part of the reason Horan started the label is due in part to her love of sustainability. She studied Urban Planning in New York City, after all. “I think of the wedding dress as the most artificial garment, because it’s something that is only designed to be worn once,” she says. “So to design something that a woman can wear over and over again on many different occasions was really, really important to me.” As for the rest of the wedding dress material, Horan has been saving it up to launch a ready-to-wear line made completely from the leftover fabric, to debut sometime within the next year.
Despite all that, Horan has been unexpectedly having one of the best periods of time ever in terms of sales. It just goes to show that even though there’s a pandemic, people still want to feel good and get dressed up in something that makes them feel a little bit special. “I did have one of my best months ever in June 2020, which to me was such a surprise,” she says. “But I think people still want to surround themselves with things that make them feel good, especially colorful clothing.”