According to the Council for Textile Recycling and the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans send 10.5 million tons of clothing to landfills each year, giving textiles one of the worst recycling rates of any reusable material. So is it any surprise we pay attention when we see small businesses and creative entrepreneurs repurposing old clothes for second lives as "new" fashion?
Based out of Tampa, Florida is small eco-clothing company Saidonia Eco, founded by designer Lily Totsev in 2010 to make fashionable items out of pre-loved and pre-owned pieces of clothing that she finds in her local Goodwill thrift stores. She also finds other textiles on Etsy to complement her pieces, giving an additional bit of uniqueness.
Totsev explains that her "designs have a European influence, Scandinavian mysticism and North American charm -- truly eclectic style clothing" that is easy to wear and also helps to divert old clothes from going to landfills.
There's definitely a bit of bohemian romanticism in Totsev's pieces, which range from feminine tunics to funky cardigans with colourful flair, to impossibly comfortable-looking "infinity" scarves that guarantee a warm neck.
Totsev also sews bold, stylish bags and purses with recycled fabrics, resulting in items that you can't find anywhere else.
Transforming humdrum thrift store trawls into one-of-a-kind wearable works that draw one's attention to the issue of our under-utilized textiles and an all-too disposable fashion industry, Saidonia Eco is but one of many small businesses attempting to rethink how fashion can be created and made valuable, one handmade piece at a time. See more over at Saidonia Eco.