We are thrilled to be featured in this month's issue of VERVE Magazine! We've shared the story below, but if you live in Asheville, we encourage you to pick up a copy because the photos are even more gorgeous big and in print. Thank you to everyone who made this happen!
Written and Styled by Sara Fields
Photography by Zaire Kacz
Bicycles, typewriters, and old cameras are a few of Bethany Adams’ favorite things. Also favoring Mason jars and cassette tapes, among other hip motifs, this 24-year-old artist and owner of design studio Rhetorical Factory screenprints retro symbols onto recycled clothing, making a strong regional impression in the process.
Adams has been in the business of crafting and selling art since grade school — knitting scarves on commission during class and peddling clay sculpture and hemp jewelry on family road trips. From there, her creative career expanded to include photography and, eventually, screenprinting — a trade she learned during an apprenticeship under Royal Peasantry’s Daniella Miller.
“I’m a maker,” says Adams. “I’ve always had an art-based business. If I had a day job, I’d still come home and make things. The typewriter was my first print, and it went really well. When I realized how much people liked retro-printed clothes, I decided to really focus on them.”
Adams’ fondness for all things vintage extends from fashion to the 1970s reproduction wallpaper that hangs in her River Arts District studio — an orange geometric print frequently spotted on AMC's Mad Men. The wallpaper design and the label’s signature question-mark icon have become trademarks of the Rhetorical Factory brand identity.
She typically sells her wares during limited hours at her studio and at various retailers in Asheville and other venues in the state. Construction is underway for her first store, located in the 444 Haywood Road block of West Asheville (next to Second Gear). The endeavor includes a revamped website, launched November 1.
Adams believes there’s still plenty of room for new talent in the increasingly trendy realm of repurposed fashion. She founded her business in 2010 with a mission to re-brand, revitalize, and even re-size high-quality used apparel. While she makes frequent trips to Goodwill, purchasing pieces by the pound, she also receives generous donations from closets of friends and supporters.
“I don’t really see myself as a designer,” she says. “But other people do. Everyone brings their own style to the recycled-clothing industry — but I’m more of an artist in general. I see clothing as a canvas. I add symbols to make pieces original.
“I’m also learning to build a business, and that’s very expressive.”
Models: Charlene Fidelia and Elizabeth Shields
Hair: Emily Wells at Studio U Salon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
All apparel and hair accessories: Rhetorical Factory
Boots: Diamond Brand Outdoors (diamondbrand.com)
Jewelry: Mora Designer Jewelry (moracollection.com)
Makeup: Makeup by Zack Russell (makeupatga.com)
Photographer: Zaire Kacz (zairekaczphotography.com)
Location: The Screen Door (screendoorasheville.com)