Fast fashion -- with its emphasis on lowly paid workers and ever-changing trend cycles to entice consumers to spend, spend, spend -- is a bane on this planet and its people. There are many ways to not participate in this vicious industry, including mending the clothes you already have, activism, and of course, supporting entrepreneurs that make unique clothing out of second-hand clothes.
Based out of Baraboo, Wisconsin, artist and owner of Ragg & Bone Mona Marks makes distinctively charming garments, skillfully remixed and upcycled from items she finds in thrift shops.
A busy mom of three, Marks started making her own clothes to suit her lifestyle, launching Ragg & Bone to share that same love for relaxed but practical clothes. She tells us that since her early years, she's been modifying her own clothes for comfort and uniqueness, and even studied fashion design for a time, but was put off by the enormous waste and "silly" trends. Making new things with the old was the answer for Marks:
Up-cycling is really fast and easy for me, and kind of therapeutic, you really feel like you have accomplished something at the end of the day. [..] Mostly I love pretty, but functional. I need to cook, clean, scooter, have a Nerf war, paint a wall and everything else that comes into our daily routine, while wearing these clothes.
Marks' clothing is bohemian and whimsical, evoking a style that she playfully calls "junk gypsy." In any case, her pairings of colours, fabrics and patterns in her dresses present a pleasant sense of composition and lovely feminine appeal. One of Marks' quirks is her aversion for fussy "tags and zippers in clothing of any kind" -- so it's rare to find even a zipper in her clothing that will pull or pinch you.
We love the way her pieces are photographed too; the dream-like sculptures are made by Marks herself and add another imaginative dimension to her brand. Marks also makes amazing, fanciful sculptures from recycled puzzle pieces, as seen below.
Marks' sense of creative thrift also encompasses her home, an once-abandoned warehouse building that she and her husband bought last year and are now in the process of fixing up. She jokes that they are now "recycling water heaters and toilets too," but plan to get off the grid and remove the asphalt in the back to make way for a garden and greenhouse. Ultimately, Marks says her aim is make delightful, upcycled garments in order to get people to wear clothing out more, instead of discarding them before their time. To see more, head on over to Ragg & Bone.