Teen Sublime speaks to Angelina Decker, the owner and director of The Reworks clothing brand, which recyleces and reuses specifically selected second hand clothing.
Teen Sublime: What is the inspiration behind starting up The Reworks?
Angelina Decker: The idea of The Reworks started when I noticed a void in the fashion industry for ethical & sustainable clothing that’s also cool, stylish, young & unique. The few sustainable brands I know of create basic, neutral pieces of clothing and I wanted to create something a little more fun and different. Before we started I was astonished at how much unwanted clothing was sitting in thrift stores around the world, clothing that people have no clue what to do with. I figured I would take that clothing that already exists and create new pieces out of it, extending the clothing lives while helping people feel good about themselves, what they wear and what they purchase.
TS: What is unique about your clothing line?
AD: Besides the fact that every piece we make is a unique design made using only up-cycled materials, there is few, if any, brands that do exactly what we do, how we do it. The clothing we sell has already lived a “life” and continues to support real lives and communities through our sourcing and production process.
On top of that we offer customization services of hand embroidery, painting, distressing, etc. so if our clothing isn’t already unique enough for our customers they have the option to make it more personalized… with a quick turn around time!
TS: What is the ethos of The Reworks?
AD: I really try to get our shoppers to understand why we do what we do. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. Major retailers have their clothing manufactured in other countries where they pay the workers un-livable wages and the manufacturing process is a disaster. They waste so much material and create so much pollution in the water and air. It’s so sad, and it’s even more sad that people can’t see and understand that happens on a daily basis. We educate our shoppers in hopes that they can see the damage the fast fashion industry creates and to make the conscious decision not to support it. Alternatives like our brand open the door for people to help make that change into ethical and sustainably designed & sourced goods.
TS: Are you planning on expanding your brand in the future?
AD: YES. The Reworks is always expanding, improving and never stopping. Aside from our clothing line, we just launched our Home Collection with some gorgeous up-cycled denim pillows, and it’s only going to keep getting better and better from here.TS: What makes you most proud of your products?
AD: Well, I personally get a first hand look at how much clothing we are able to save/recycle and how much money we are able to put back into the community while doing it. It’s a lot, and it’s all good, so that in itself is something that really makes me proud. In addition to that, I’m really proud to see how far the overall brand has grown. We have improved so much since we launched in March 2017 and I often think about how satisfying it is to see the change, like my child growing up haha!
TS: How do you create change and impact the fashion world through your clothing?
AD: We create the change and impact by stepping outside the box with our designs and process and telling everyone about it. The whole sustainability topic is still a growing topic that people need to learn about so we try to teach that through our products and social media. Our goal is that one day “fast fashion” doesn’t exist and more businesses can learn to repair, reuse, recycle clothing/textiles while having an ethical manufacturing process as well.
TS: What’s your relationship like with your production team?
AD: I have a few people that help out with production for certain items, I still make some pieces myself as well. We work really well together, I care for these people and their lives. Ethical fashion doesn’t just refer to the garments themselves, it means having ethics in all departments, especially the people that do the manufacturing, which is something major retailers overlook. I make sure our makers are paid appropriately for their time and efforts, they tell me how much money they want and how much time they want to work and I work with that!
TS: Tell us more about Angelina Decker and how she got to where she is now?
AD: Growing up I was always super creative and artistic and I knew what I wanted in life. I owned my own business in 5th grade making window crystals and had so much fun with it, so i think that’s ultimately where I knew i wanted to do something creative and entrepreneurial at the same time. I ended up graduating high school at the age of 16 and also started college at the same age — I was always in advanced classes with the grades above me and preformed well so it only made sense for me and my personality type to fast track that part of my life. I’m very introverted, but I also like to do things different then the crowd. When I got to college I originally went for fashion merchandising and then I changed my major to business. After college I was working a part time job as a receptionist. I soon quit, literally left mid shift and never looked back. I invested my final paycheck into my business idea, and that’s how The Reworks started. I’m 20 years old now, running The Reworks full time, and it’s awesome because all this time later what i’m doing now completely combines all the things i love to do.
Check out The Reworks at shopthereworks.com