More ubiquitous than underwear or socks, t-shirts are something most Americans have a few too many of in their dresser drawers and on closet shelves.
When spring cleaning arrives, it is stained and moth-eaten t-shirts that line the bags to be sent to Goodwill.But what can Goodwill do with so many T's? Some are sent by the container load to other lands, while many, many more simply become stockpiled waste. But t-shirts are raw material for Jenny Jo Allen, who started using old shrunken sweaters to make baby clothes when her daughter was born in 2008, and now wants to mass produce t-shirt skirts, which she calls t-skirts.
'Found' fashion is Allen's passion, and she's gratified by how women have gravitated toward her short t-skirts.
While Allen first sold one-of-a-kind skirts at farmer's markets and through word of mouth, as she refined her designs to meet market tastes she realized she could sell wholesale if she had a steadier supply of raw (used) t-shirt materials. However, a minimum order of t's from a bulk supplier is 5,000 pounds, or around 10,000 t-shirts.
To make that big of an order, Jenny Jo turned to Kickstarter and has a campaign in progress to raise the money to buy the 10,000 t's that will give her a big backlog of raw material to become a wholesale supplier of her t'skirts. She's also added a screen print on each skirt to make them distinctive yet recognizably a Jenny Jo product.
Allen also takes donations of used t'shirts, and can work around some defects, especially if the t's are in the color waves she is currently designing in. She also has a line of monster baby caps she makes from smaller pieces of t-shirts.
Allen says while she loves to create t-skirts and other refashioned fashion, her passion is to find additional ways to reduce waste streams.