You may have seen him around the University, but have you seen his style?
HappyxLoco, a fashion and clothing community lifestyle created by local artist and designer Jeremy Salazar, brings a unique and innovative way to wear recycled clothing and support a sustainable clothing brand.
Salazar said he started with clothing and design through his skateboarding and patching up his ripped up clothes after falling off his skateboard. From there, he said he became good at hand sewing and started incorporating handwritten, graffiti-style words and pictures to an article of clothing.
"Some clothes look like empty canvases," Salazar said. "Each one kind of speaks to me like whatever materials, fabrics or old clothes I find. I just look at it and it tells me what to do with it."
Most of the materials and fabrics Salazar finds are from local thrift stores or donated to him by his friends and customers. He said a major part of his brand is focused on creating clothes that are not only interesting and artistic but made from recycled sources.
"Whenever you see a recycle stamp, you know that sign means to think forward or become conscious with what you have," Salazar said. "I think that by using recycled clothes and stamping it with my brand or any artwork, it says 'I’m conscious of what’s happening in the world and what’s going on with climate change.' So, by wearing this artwork I’m saying I care about the planet and I want to support a sustainable brand."
Salazar said he has been designing clothes for roughly three years, steadily growing a following through Instagram and his shop on depop — a website to buy, sell and discover new fashion — where he has well over 8,000 followers. Last year, he won Depop’s Disruptor Innovation award, giving him a large following boost.
Last year, Salazar said he hit a wall with his inspiration for creating fashion pieces, so he decided to go to New York City. With only a little money and a few friends he met through Instagram, Salazar was able to make friends and do photoshoots with other New Yorkers to build a small community in that city.
"Whatever I’m creating and getting inspired by (in New Mexico), I want to share that with the world. I think there’s something special that people have here in their hearts," Salazar said.
Today, he goes back and forth from New York and New Mexico. Salazar said he wants to continue to grow and expand his brand but is still in an experimental phase and finding his path in fashion.
"I feel like a lot of the designs are like sketches," Salazar said. "For me, it’s like I’m making a sketch or drawing when making the clothes, but I’m not throwing it away. I’m still selling it or giving it away until I find my real style."
One of the biggest challenges Salazar said he will have to face if he wants to begin producing clothes on a larger scale is maintaining authenticity in wanting to only use second-hand clothing.
"It seems like when you want to start mass-producing clothes, that’s where it gets tricky because people want to buy new fabrics or materials," he said.
Salazar said he wants to encourage people to be more conscious of what they're consuming, whether it’s the clothes they buy or anything else.
"I want to make it cool to shop at a thrift store and support local artists or any kind of brand(s) that are using sustainable materials, and I think we should all move towards that way of living," Salazar said.
Salazar released his latest collection titled "-P01$ON-" on Nov. 25. It included unique pieces, all hand made with recycled clothes and fabrics found in Albuquerque. In a YouTube video Salazar released, he engages in a street performance where the model (Mat Mills) uses an alley as a catwalk while wearing a blank dress. Salazar stops her to spray paint her dress, and when he's finished they walk their separate ways.
"The concept of this piece symbolizes exploding nuclear reactors and other high levels of radiation on how quickly it infects us," he said.
Amanda Britt is the photo editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @AmandaBritt__