Check Out This MelaninASS Brand That's Giving Old Pieces A New Life & Making It Affordable
A lot of sustainable fashion brands we feature focus on sustainability in terms of environmentally and socially sound production practices. Many brands partner with skilled artisans, use ethical fabrics or craft pieces using ecological techniques.
However, we were especially excited to chat with a brand founded by a WOC who is challenging our disposability culture. Neo Thread focuses upcycling, giving old pieces a new and refreshing life.
Check out our interview:
When and why did you start Neo • thread ? How did you come up with this creative name?
I started neo • thread as a typical, broke, business, specifically an entrepreneurial, undergrad student. I would frequent local thrift stores purchase and modify clothing to my liking and, to my surprise, the liking of others. Students started complimenting and asking where they could shop my look. So, on a whim, I decided to open an Instagram account and start selling. I had always wanted to start a business that centered around creativity and improving the community; I realized that nothing would make me feel ready for this endeavor so I better just start.
In choosing a name for the brand I wanted the emphasis to be on new life. Because I wasn’t just restoring old clothing to its original form but giving it new life entirely. The Greek prefix neo seemed to perfectly embody this. It was my mission to bring new life to tired threads and the name neo • thread was born. Our tagline, not old, not new, neo is our simple way of emphasizing new life over newness.
What inspired such a creative business model?
Necessity was my inspiration; I honestly think necessity played a huge role in creating the neo • thread business model. Creativity and ingenuity is revealed in situations of need. I saw a broken fashion industry and consumer culture and wanted to change it. My “zero waste” upbringing taught me to see waste differently; to treat it as material and it’s hidden beauty and potential. This mentality is engrained in me, for that I’m grateful to my parents. It only felt right to combine this way of life with my ability to sew to make one of a kind, upcycled garments.
How is the concept of your sustainable? How do you define sustainable fashion?
neo • thread is redefining second-hand clothing and what it means to love clothing. As I mentioned before, I grew up in a family that fully embraced the “waste not want not” lifestyle. This is a method of sustainability. Sustainability has everything to do with gratitude and caring; gratitude for our planet and caring for both the present and future generations. Keeping textile out of the landfill and in the hands of women who understand it’s a one of a kind piece and feel it’s made just for them is my mission. If I can not only be an alternative to fast fashion but an advocate for zero waste and ethical sourcing then I’m doing what I’ve set out to do.
Share some thoughts on our disposability culture and why throwing away clothes is so not cool.
Today, clothing is almost expected to have a short lifespan. It’s treated as if it is completely disposable. This disposability culture is what empowers and encourages Fast Fashion. The need to keep up with the ever-fading trends is why most girls I’ve known will only wear something once or twice before it’s tossed out. It’s utterly destructive to our planet. Our landfills are full of, literal, tons of clothing. We can’t even keep up with this rate of disposal; we need to change our views and habits towards consumption and disposal if we want this planet and people to have a future at all.
How would you describe your average customer?
Surprisingly, my shoppers are generally not sustainability or ethically minded. Which I love. They are women from the ages of 16-35 who love and want one of kind pieces. They shop the pieces because they relate to them in some way. And yet, they end up joining and supporting the movement towards slow, ethically-crafted, sustainable fashion. I have girls message or approach me saying, “I’ve changed how I shop after following/shopping neo • thread . I didn’t know slave labor still existed and that I was supporting it, etc.” Those interactions really validate neo • thread as more than a brand but an actual movement and platform to share, encourage and empower girls to shop ethically.
Where do you see yourself in say 5 years?
I want neo • thread to be bigger than just myself, my ultimate goal is for neo • thread to become an online platform for upcycling artists to sell their crafted clothing. In five years, I hope to host a strong community of over 100 of these artists expressing their creativity and selling through the site. This would be a side hustle for these artists to work from home, have their own profiles on the site and have the friction of branding, marketing, customer service and other important (and lame) obligations of running a business taken out of the equation. Their main priority and focus would be on creating, amazing pieces. It’s important to me to build an empowered community that creates consciously and experiences the same life and financial freedom that neo • thread has given me. I’m excited to announce that this year we begin the first stages of this model as I look for upcyclers, here, locally in the Southwest.