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Date Established 01/2020
Founder Nancy Rhodes, Isabel Varela, Advisory Board
Headquarters New York, NY
Press Contact Nancy Rhodes


Alternew is pioneering a new wave of sustainability through a body-positive and globally conscious approach to repurposed fashion. They alleviate the hassle of finding a local seamstress or tailor, and the tendency to leave a pile of items wasting away by making alterations a “seamless” experience. Alternew extends and updates the wardrobe you already have and drives the entire process for measuring and styling consultations. Your “alternew’d” garments will be better than before and you’ll feel great knowing that as a mindful fashionista you’re setting a trend to consciously curate your closet.

Alternew understands that as a society we contribute to 80 billion items of clothing a year that are burned to release poisonous CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, and pollutes the water with microplastics. By creating more autonomy through repurposed fashion to satisfy client needs and meet consumer demand, alternew is making alterations a more viable solution to a wasteful culture. Alternew gives consumers a newfound power to become creators in their own right by seeing old things in a new way.

Founding Story

For 15 years, alternew founder Nancy Rhodes has led fashion design projects across China and Europe, and grown companies that multiplied to a $40 million dollar business, but it didn’t quite resonate with her deepest aspirations.

Through her studies at Glasgow Caledonian New York Campus with an apt motto “for the common good”, she received a United Nations Grant for her dedication to learning and building a career adhering to the UN sustainable development goals. She joined a community of people who actively fought to end pollution and created a culture of upcycling and anti-waste innovations where she found passion, purpose and connection to the full story and life-span of manufactured fashion; a story she didn't know needed to be told. The 15 years Nancy has successfully braved the footwear industry allowed her to see the end goals and understand the need for systemic solutions to create a sustainable future allowing circularity to succeed in the most effective way.

Realizing how disenfranchising the customer experience can be, Nancy founded alternew with a mission to redefine the alteration experience through a more personalized system. She wants clients to feel okay with what they already have instead of feeling the need to be forced into order to feel better about themselves. Her calling to change the way consumers look at their wardrobe is further supported by the reality that she witnessed a lot of quality control issues due to the high volume of clothes that were produced, and that there are no benchmarks for standards and no transparency on the business side of things.

Through alternew, she plans to bring solutions to these issues and create a community for tailors to their true potential in the design world. Nancy wants to merge the world of technology, fashion and trends all in one room to rewrite the story of fashion, not just for the community she’s building now, but also for future generations. Ultimately, she desires to scale the customization and individualization of products and bring more mindfulness to how we view fashion. She’s daring people to look into their closets and to not just see an old sweater or ripped jeans, but to imagine the possibilities of what it could become.


Nancy Rhodes


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Nancy Rhodes re-writes the story of fashion and the way we feel about our clothes. She cultivates a community of environmentally conscious designers at alternew and writes the next chapter for future generations. Alternew defines what it means to embrace your body and changes the one-size-fits-all stereotype to this-size-fits-you through custom alts.

As a design insider who’s worked in the fashion industry for over 15 years, with exclusive insight into mass production, Nancy reminds consumers to blame the clothes and not themselves. Her thesis on the democratization of clothing customization and the negative impact of fast fashion on the planet and people, builds purpose and passion to change the way we see our outdated wardrobe. She offers consumers a rare opportunity to take ownership of their personal style in a way that is authentic and current through alternew; preventing it ending up in landfills and reducing CO2 emissions.

Isabel Varela

CSO (Chief Sewing and Sustainability Officer)

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With over 23 years in the fashion industry, Isabel has tailored women, men, and children all the way to celebrity clientele including The Property Brothers, Vicky Jeudy, Ryan Seacrest, Rosie Perez, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, and more. She has presented on the importance of upcycling, overcoming fashion addiction, and advocating positive sustainable solutions along with screening her powerful documentary, Fashion Addict at several universities around the United States and at the Chicago Cultural Center live on their public broadcasting network, ICAN. Her documentary has also been officially selected to screen at the Best Shorts Competition Film Festival in Los Angeles, CA. She believes that everyone is capable of developing a sustainable relationship with their clothes.

Her personal mission is to empower individuals to develop healthier relationships with themselves, the clothing they wear and to build a healthier planet through art, film, and education. She was named “Change Maker of the Year,” through the New York Fair Trade Organization for all of the work she has contributed to the community.

Advisory Board

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Alexandra Lebenthal, Cate Luzio, Nancy Beers, Natalie Mackey