Hobby To Passion
Ray Saint-Zarek has always been a fan of vintage clothes. What started as a personal vintage T-shirt collection grew into upcycling vintage denim jackets into custom one-of-a-kind pieces of art.
House Saint Zarek has also styled over 100 celebrities.
I grew up in a small town in Arizona. When I was in my 20s I decided I need to make big changes in my life and moved to London. I studied architecture at the University of Westminster, but after two years I ended up hating architecture. So like every person in the world with very quixotic plans, I headed out to Los Angeles. Between the many jobs I had to make ends meet, I knew I could always depend on a good LA thrift store.
Looking back, thrift store shopping has been part of my life since I was a kid. Most kids would be embarrassed about that, but I loved it. I loved the feeling that this might just be the one last vintage t-shirt. Twenty years later, I decided to turn my hobby into an eBay business. I discovered that the love for vintage was growing and so I decided to put the work in and sell on eBay. One day during a flee market hunt, I came across a vintage denim Levi Jacket. It was perfect. The grunge, the stains, the tears, and the vintage patches. At the time I couldn’t afford this masterpiece. I embarked on my thrift store journey to find all the pieces I needed to make MY jacket on my budget. So many hours spend trying to find the right vintage shirt to patch in the back, and of course, to find THE jacket. Finally, one day the rack of clothing donations came out, and in that rack was a vintage denim Calvin Klein jacket. The master piece was designed and after many offers to buy it off me I decided to start making them for others. I set up my first pop-up shop in Phoenix Arizona at their local arts row. In 2019, House Saint Zarek curated a line of jackets for the American Music Awards GBK brand in Los Angeles.
To this day I have upcycled over 300 jackets. Each one was one of a kind. Upcycling these jackets have been such a great source of artistic expression and in some cases therapeutic.
Months before the covid-19 pandemic I had finally set up House Saint Zarek to launch, but as everything else did, I had to put everything on hold. I look forward to creating a new collection in the coming months.