Jared DeSimio of Brunswick first developed a following for the bags he made out of vintage materials that he scooped up from yard sales, flea markets and auctions. His most popular creations were military duffel bags.

“Those are the fabrics that have the handwriting and designs and stenciling because soldiers would decorate them, or they’d just write on them,” DeSimio said. “That kind of lived history that was inherent in the materials is what was really interesting to me.”

He carefully considered every aspect of the bags, down to the responsibly sourced thread and antique rivets. The bags sold for $150 and up.

Now he’s turned his talents to streetwear culture, mending and remaking old garments with “a certain point of view”: He wants people to re-imagine how they feel about imperfections in clothes.

“We’re in this throwaway culture right now,” he said. “We go to a store and spend $15 on a new shirt rather than buy something that’s quality and take care of it and mend it and embrace the imperfections as a way of expressing your own style.”

DeSimio, an ed tech at Mt. Ararat High School, got into sewing when he wanted to buy a bag he couldn’t afford. He decided to make it himself. One catch – he didn’t know how to sew. So he borrowed his wife’s sewing machine and taught himself by taking bags and baseball caps apart and putting them back together again.

Now he’s working with higher-quality thrift store or vintage clothes such as T-shirts, sweatshirts and jeans. The technique he uses resembles a reverse applique; he cuts out a piece of fabric from, say, a sweatshirt and sews another piece – usually with some kind of image on it – behind the hole. It’s like looking through a window pane.

DeSimio’s new company is called Seven At One, a reference to the Grimm’s Fairy Tale “The Brave Little Tailor.” His garments are being sold at Portland Trading Co. T-shirts are $58 and sweatshirts are $98.

— Meredith Goad

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