Distressed to impress

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By Maggie Ortuso l Published November 10, 2016

Shelly Rodriguez, a senior at Kean University, has designed and created a clothing line. The line is called Distressed by Shelly, and it is inspired by vintage clothing.

“I got the idea because there was a $200 shirt I wanted but could not afford,” says Rodriguez. “Then I figured, why can’t I make it myself?”

After so many people asked her where she got her first bleached shirt, Rodriguez got the idea to start making more and selling them. Shelly frequently goes to thrift shops, and that vintage feel is what gave her the idea of what to design.

There are several pieces Rodriguez is making, one of them being bleached t-shirts. This process involves the designer taking an ordinary shirt, bleaching a design on it, and adding her own flair. Rodriguez calls this her “Bleach bae tee” and offers the option of getting a choker set as well. The set will cost $25, plus shipping and handling.

There are several customers ready to purchase items being displayed on the Instagram page, @distressedbyshelly. If a customer is interested in buying an item on the page, they can direct message Rodriguez on the account.

“I think it’s very inspirational and brave that Shelly is exposing her hard work and creativity to the world,” said Melissa Ceballos, a senior. “It is risky, because when you create something and spend time on it, you can only hope everyone loves it.”

Another featured item is the “limited vintage tees.” After buying a vintage shirt at a thrift shop, Rodriguez redesigns it.

These shirts can be done in several ways, such as cutting the front, putting holes in the shirt, and stringing a lace through the holes. Rodriguez calls them her lace ups.

With so much demand for her Ranger’s shirt, the second batch of lace up shirts will be sports team, and will be available in the future.

Having so many requests for shirts, it must be demanding for Rodriguez to balance classes, work, and a new business. However, she is not doing this alone. Rodriguez attributes her clothing line to her late friend, Michelle Mian.

“A part of me knows that she is the one that has manifested my desire to create this clothing line,” says Rodriguez. “I swear her hand is guiding me on my shoulder when a new idea flashes in my head.”

She considers herself and Mian to be a team, and knows she could not do this without her spirit being there. The plan for Rodriguez is to finish designing the rest of the pieces, and to start selling and shipping them by mid-November.

“I’m very excited about the future of my line” says Rodriguez. “People just have to remember it’s a one-woman show, and I’m still a full-time student with a job as well.” Distressed by Shelly is being sold soon, and customers are encouraged to start putting in orders now.

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