Billie Eilish buys artwork from Albuquerque artist for world tour

Fashion designer Doug Wiggins works on creating wearable art using recycled materials in his studio at his home in Albuquerque. (Chancey Bush/Albuquerque Journal)

On a daily basis, Doug Wiggins seeks to express his true personality.

At first glance, it’s through the tattoos that adorn her body.

On closer inspection, Wiggins’ personality is revealed in its true form through the clothes he wears.

Billie Eilish wears a Doug Wiggins design that features the likeness of Marilyn Monroe. (Courtesy of Doug Wiggins)

Often second-hand or recycled, the clothes add to its dynamics.

It’s no wonder Wiggins’ profile in the fashion industry is rising — and he’s doing it all from his home in Albuquerque.

“I did everything through social media,” says Wiggins. “When I first moved to Albuquerque, I met a bunch of people who were forming a collective. They started letting me do gigs with them. I started doing pop-up events and to make my name known.

Wiggins focuses on upcycled fashion and will add its flair with screen printing on fabric.

“The fashion industry is like the #3 contributor to all the trash in the world,” he says. “These days, fast fashion is crazy. I hate that. I think it’s important to take a step back and realize what you’re wearing and how it was made. I try to reduce my waste by reusing objects and creating something new.

It was so successful that its aesthetic caught the eye of Billie Eilish, who purchased items for her world tour.

“I think being able to get great artists like Billie Eilish, for example, to wear a used shirt that I made for her, it shows other people that it’s cool, not just cool to wear that stuff, but you can do it too,” he says. “I get a lot of haters online saying they could do these clothes too. I always post, ‘Yes, you can do that too.’ That’s the point. You don’t have to get new materials or buy brand new things to have a sense of style or be able to express yourself.

Wiggins is no stranger to art. As a fourth generation artist, he is the son of Roswell-based artist Kim Douglas Wiggins and grew up with art all around him. His sister Rebekah Wiggins is an actress/producer/director in the film industry.

In 2017, he took a break from school at the University of New Mexico and moved to Colorado to work on a farm.

Eighty hours a week began to wear him down after two years.

“It made me decide that I wanted to pursue something I was passionate about,” he says. “I realized that the way I dress and my clothes is the way I express myself. Having to wear a uniform every day made me realize that art and fashion is something I want to chase.

Fashion designer Doug Wiggins sews pieces of fabric together to create a wearable work of art. (Chancey Bush/Albuquerque Journal)

With money in his pocket to pay for his education again, he transferred to New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

“UNM didn’t have a fashion program,” he smiles. “I graduated in fashion.”

In 2019, he launched his business, simply called Done by Doug.

Wiggins has worked on fashion design every day since opening the fashion line.

Over the past six months, he has seen his popularity rise dramatically on social media.

“I think being able to assert yourself with fashion is the art of expressing and getting a message across to people who may not have gone out to be told something,” says -he. “They have the opportunity to experience something that they might not have been able to experience.”

Billie Eilish wears one of Doug Wiggins’ designs from Albuquerque. (Courtesy of Doug Wiggins)

Thanks to fashion, Wiggins is also able to spark conversations.

“I think fashion in general is a way to get people to have an opinion on something, even if the topic doesn’t interest them,” he says. “My work often consists of denouncing acts of violence or social injustices in our society. It’s important to make a social commentary on it and get people talking whether they like my work or not. It’s supposed to be a conduit.

As her work becomes more and more visible, Wiggins takes it all in stride and stays humble, because launching a fashion line was just a dream a few years ago.

“Being able to connect with people is so amazing,” he says. “In the beginning, I made clothes and sold them in the hope that people would like them and want to wear them. Now it’s like people have a connection with them and me. I was able to establish a personal connection with those who pay attention to what I do. In these comments, I receive a lot of encouragement. Bigger artists hit me and stuff, but it’s the comments from people who have a connection to the clothes that affect me. All this gives me a feeling of joy.

Through her work, Wiggins also takes the time to give back to the community.

He works with groups to host pop-up shows and canned food drives.

“I find time to help make these things happen,” he says. “It is important to continue to create this community and to move it forward. I want to inspire people. I’m from a small town and I push to do my own thing. It’s amazing to see the trajectory so far.

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