Norman designer transforms yesterday's clothes into today's fashions

A Norman woman's redesigned, vintage clothes have been snatched up by University of Oklahoma coeds. Now that she has connected to an eager market, Jessica Khandros is ready to move forward with a new collection.

A former model, the 26-year-old Khandros operates Old News Custom Clothing.

After earning a bachelor's degree in fashion marketing from the University of Central Oklahoma and working in Dallas as a buyer for juniors at J.C. Penney, Khandros returned to Oklahoma last April.

Being thrifty is in, and what better place to create clothing for budget-conscious people than a university town full of cash-strapped students.

"The appeal for me about Oklahoma is that you can start something new here," she said. "I cater to a younger audience, 16-to-28-year-olds, and this is the perfect environment for what I am trying to do."

With a team of vendors that scours thrift stores and vintage shops, Khandros turns old into new:
" military jackets become modern wardrobe pieces by cropping the waist, tailoring the bodice and capping the sleeves;
" T-shirts become tanks with deep V-necks and puffed sleeves; and
" Western-style shirts may sport T-shirt sleeves and backs.

"Fashion recycles itself," she said. "You can keep what you have, revamp it and turn it into something new."

Khandros is looking for investors and hopes to recruit OU students as design interns.

"Even in Norman, you can see that fashion is important, especially with students," she said. "Susan Grossman