If you lost a suitcase containing a black tux in the last few decades, your formal wear might have made it to the champagne carpet at Sunday’s Academy Awards. And it may be extremely lucky.
‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ co-director Daniel Scheinert, who shared awards for best director and best original screenplay with his creative partner, Daniel Kwan, wore an outfit salvaged from lost luggage to the biggest night in showbiz. The multiverse movie was the big winner of the night, claiming best picture among its seven trophies and making Michelle Yeoh the first Asian woman to win the Oscar for best actress.
While fellow stars donned Louis Vuitton and Versace, Scheinert sported a black tuxedo from Unclaimed Baggage, a store in Scottsboro, Alabama, that's exactly what it sounds like. The business has been around for more than 50 years, buying left-behind bags from airlines and then selling, recycling and donating the spoils. (Don’t worry - these are “truly orphaned” bags that airlines have tried extensively to reunite with their owners).
Every day, the store processes thousands of left-behind bags, turning up everything from diamond earrings to mounted deer skulls. A third of what they buy gets donated to charity, a third gets recycled and a third goes up for sale online and in person. Scheinert, a Birmingham native, snagged the tux at its 50,000-square-foot retail space.
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“We think that it’s incredible,” said Jennifer Kritner, Unclaimed Baggage’s vice president of retail and company culture, as well as the director of its charity, Reclaimed for Good.
“Daniel is kind of known for representing his state,” she added. “I think he’s worn an Alabama Crimson Tide T-shirt to another event and a camouflage poncho that belonged to his granddad.”
Scheinert’s mother, Becky Scheinert, told AL.com that she and her son had bought the tux years ago, and that he planned on wearing it to the Oscars. Katherine Rowe, a representative for Scheinert, confirmed to The Washington Post that he wore the Unclaimed Baggage tux.
“We actually invited her to come shop with us for her Oscar gown,” Kritner said of Scheinert’s mother. She wasn’t able to find the right dress for the occasion, “but it was really cool to connect with the family over such a fun topic,” Kritner said.
Suits and tuxedos are plentiful at Unclaimed Baggage, and Kritner says they’re among the best deals at the store, priced between 20- to 80-percent off their retail value. But even so, it can be tricky to find one that fits just right. Most suits and formal wear the store recovers are tailored or custom made for the original owners, so Kritner said Scheinert finding “a tall, very slim cut tuxedo that fit him like a glove” was “a little bit like putting on a glass slipper.”
Kritner believes this is the first time an Unclaimed Baggage purchase has ended up at the Academy Awards.
“We’re so honored that we could be included in his big moment,” she said. “We’re so proud of Daniel and his Alabama roots and just so encouraged to see one of our very own succeed in such an incredible way.”
The rest of Scheinert’s ensemble was also unique. Rowe said his custom shoes and pocket square were from Xol Original, a Colorado nonprofit that works with Indigenous artisans from around the world. His shirt was from Exclusive Culture, a store in L.A.’s Fashion District that appears to be closed. Scheinert accessorised with glasses from Society of the Spectacle and jewelry from Essinbee, a local brand in his neighborhood, plus jacket buttons he sewed on from Remainders, a reused crafts nonprofit store in Pasadena.
Scheinert’s co-director, Daniel Kwan, also made headlines for his outfit choice, styled by Shirley Kurata. Kwan’s crimson tux with “Punk” emblazoned across the back was a custom piece from the L.A. label Goodfight - a smoking jacket version of the a cardigan actress Michelle Yeoh’s character Evelyn wore in the movie.
Ashley Fetters Maloy, who covers fashion for The Post, said she appreciates when men depart from the traditional black-and-white-with-a-bow-tie tuxedo on a red carpet - especially at the Academy Awards. But in Scheinert’s particular case, the departure fell short.
“I think such experimentation works best when an outfit still communicates an equivalent level of formality and special-occasion gravitas - as many of the other statement suits and tuxedos last night did,” Fetters Maloy said in an email.
While she found his thrifting impressive and “a perfectly fine ensemble to wear to plenty of other, more casual awards events,” she said, “to me Scheinert - in his leather belt and skinny tie - looks somewhat underdressed for the Oscars.”