It took a global pandemic for Brian Antonevich to follow his life-long passion for fashion, and he hasn’t looked back since.
The Boston-based former engineer launched Frayed Needle, a men’s and women’s upcycled denim label, in 2021 after years of redesigning his own clothes. The brand retrofits existing garments like jeans, shorts and jackets into one-of-a-kind items by adding patchwork, hand stitching, cutouts and splashes of color.
“Anything that makes the piece stand out,” Antonevich said.
The result is an edgy rocker-meets-country-crooner aesthetic with stage appeal. Flares are decorated with leather paisley-inspired patchwork and undone hems. Hot pink thread highlights the seam details on ripped stretch jeans. Vests are tinted and chopped.
Upcycled pieces are sold on the brand’s website and retail for $99-$425. Antonevich said 75 percent of the business is in ready-made items, while the remaining are custom orders.
Antonevich counts musicians like Crocs collaborator Post Malone, Quinton Griggs, Keith Harkin, Ryan Cook and Tina Hendrix as clients. Fashion stylists often go looking for Frayed Needle; other times Antonevich connects with local artists.
New placement in Music City may attract even more interest. Frayed Needle joined Molly & Gidget, the Nashville showroom, earlier this year. The showroom works with stylists, models, social media personalities and music acts, and promotes “unapologetically bold uniqueness and personal style.”
Despite attracting high-profile clients, Frayed Needle’s beginning is not unlike the deluge of side hustles and career changes that emerged from the pandemic. In Antonevich’s case, more time at home meant he could pour his energy into his hobby of reworking fashion.
“Growing up, I always modified my clothes. I was always in Levi’s jeans and a denim jacket, but I would make them to my liking,” he said.
By 2021, Antonevich built up enough inventory to make Frayed Needle internet official. Conscious of how his aesthetic leaned toward “a Nashville look,” he teamed up with Dead Horse Branding, a Nashville-based creative management agency to build a website and plan a marketing strategy.
“I would see guys on the CMA Awards and think I could dress them better,” he said.
While Antonevich does some work rejiggering leather items, denim is the common denominator in both his designs and country music fashion. “Denim is one thing that everybody wears. It has a unique look. It’s comfortable and everything goes,” he said, adding that he’s motivated by the variety of fits and washes currently trending in the market.
“You have to follow your passion and be confident because you’re going to have critics,” Antonevich said, noting that many question why he left an engineering career to pursue fashion. “You’re going to have ups and downs but you just have to bear down and do it.”