HIDDEN GEMS OF LOWELL: Fashion Designer Mark Verzhbinsky

Senior Mark Verzhbinsky has found passion in making and altering clothing, and has turned his creative expression into a way to raise funds for human rights issues. Not resonating with other forms of art, he decided to put his efforts towards his style. Through hard work and long hours at the sewing machine, Verzhbinsky has discovered a personal outlet and formed a one-of-a-kind wardrobe.

Verzhbinsky’s patchwork pants. (Photos courtesy of Mark Verzhbinsky)

What type of fashion design do you do?

I started off taking existing clothes that I already had, mostly pants, and adding patches to them; I also experimented with iron-on transfers to get images on there, but that didn’t really work because they fell off pretty quickly. Since then I have mainly been working with patches and changing the shape of existing pants, but recently I have been working on two projects that are cut-and-sew: I’ve gotten a sheet of fabric, cut out the fabric, cut out the pieces and put them together to make my own pair of pants. 

What inspired you to start making and altering clothes? 

Fashion and how I dress has always been my form of self expression. I’ve toyed around with a lot of performing and visual arts, none of it ever really stuck with me. So, I figured that I would try this form of self expression and take it up a notch. I decided to not only dress in a fairly unique way, but also make the clothes that I wear so they are truly unique. I got a sewing machine for my birthday and it has kind of taken off since then. 

Verzhbinsky’s masks. (Photo courtesy of Mark Verzhbinsky)

How long do projects usually take and what is your process like? 

Now that I am making stuff from the ground up, it takes me a whole weekend from start–laying out the fabric and cutting it out–to finish–the final stitch. I, of course, take breaks to eat and sleep, but I’d probably say it takes me 15 to 20 hours for one pair of jeans. 

How often do you work on your projects? 

Most of the stuff that I have made and the stuff that is on my instagram account was made before school. Now that I have school and homework and college applications, I feel like I can’t allow myself as much time. Generally, every other weekend I try to at least do something small. Once college applications are in, I will probably go back to sewing every week and night. Before school, I would work whenever I got any good chunk of free time. 

What do you do with the clothes that you make? 

Generally I work on a small commission basis. I did a donation drive for the ACLU back in June and July where I made masks and a couple pairs of pants for people. From that I ended up raising $350 dollars. 

Verzhbinsky’s “pair of bush pants, [with] the pockets sewn onto the front to become belt loops.” (Photo courtesy of Mark Verzhbinsky)
What has been your favorite project? 

Definitely my most recent. It’s this pair of bush pants, so the pockets are sewn onto the front to become belt loops. It’s a pair of brown flair jeans with seams down the middle that look like a peace sign, so its got that motif. I think it looks really cool. It also has variegated thread, which means the thread changes color — it fades from yellow to white and back again all over the pants. It is also my first pair of jeans that I have made from scratch, so I am pretty proud of it.