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Hebe Rose  New York

Buying fashion with an eco-friendly vibe is easy with these fabulous handbags. Every Hebe Rose product is at least 60% recycled, with much of the material they use coming from the PET Plastic bottles that would otherwise be clogging up a landfill.

Hebe Rose New York was started in early 2016 by two designers, April Rose Gedney Ramirez and Barbara Corea, both of whom shared a common goal. This goal was to create a product by recycling what they could and making a difference. Although It sounds simple, there are numerous laws to abide by making startup challenging.

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To see the realities of our country’s waste, April and Barbara went on a trip to Asia. What they learned on this journey broke their hearts. Many American landfills are at capacity, and thus garbage is being sent over to third world countries like the Philippines where people sort through landfills to find recyclables. Seeing other people deal with our country’s problem just did not sit right with these gals.

Witnessing firsthand has made them even more determined to change the fashion industry from within. “Ethical fashion is not a trend, but it is a statement. It’s a statement we hope more consumers will make as they wake up to the harm caused by mindless consumption. Recycling turns things into other things, which is kind of like magic”!

Making a statement. Making a difference.

This is what Hebe Rose New York is all about.

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Modern Muse 61

words | Melinda Hoffman

After studying Fashion Design at The Art Institute of Chicago, I was hired as a children's wear designer in the 80’s. The best part of my job was traveling throughout Europe several times a year to attend fashion shows and to research fashion trends. 

On these trips, I was mentored by my boss to travel efficiently with only a small carry-on for the two-week stints. Hopping from Italy to France to Germany to Denmark, we easily navigated planes, trains, and buses.  Sometimes even forgoing hotels for sleeper cars on trains as we went from city to city. That was where my passion for travel and adventure started, as well as the idea of traveling with very little to give you the most freedom abroad.

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“At my lowest point, I found strength to come back even stronger, as I embraced my true self.”
— Founder | Melinda Hoffman @modernmuse61

In the 1990’s to supplement my income, I began designing and making jewelry out of found objects. I see beauty in the most humble of things. In my travels, I would be scouring flea markets, digging through obscure hardware stores, and even hunting in back alleys and vacant lots to find hidden treasures.

Using old fishing lures, antique keys, vintage bottle caps, padlocks, clock parts, gadgets and other unusual objects, I would create pieces with a unique story. I called it my Found Object series. Back then, it wasn't called Recycling or Upcycling.

In 2001, I relocated from Chicago to Scottsdale, Arizona, then 9/11 happened. The years following that, everything changed. Employers filed for bankruptcy or went out of business. I was laid off three times. Twenty-four years of marriage ended in divorce. I started thinking about how my old ideas of job security, stability, and lifestyle had changed. At my lowest point, I found strength to come back even stronger, as I embraced my true self.

While working for a leather company, I taught myself how to make leather accessories to meet the needs of my new life, when I couldn't find what I wanted in the marketplace. On the weekends, I started doing art markets and selling my designs and accessories. In 2010 modernmuse61 was born.

In 2013, I quit my job and sold my possessions. I took a risk on myself to follow my passion for traveling on the open road. I'm now enjoying my lifestyle as an artisan doing various art shows throughout Arizona and California. Some say I'm a wandering hippie gypsy, but I prefer to see myself as a hard working road warrior entrepreneur.

Form must always follow function. Everything I design is multifunctional to suit every need. My International Case not only holds a phone, but also a passport, notebook, credit cards, cash, business cards, lipstick, and even a pen! My Equestrian Belt can be worn alone, together with the Cell Phone Case, as a crossbody style, or hidden shoulder holster. Perfect for the modern bohemian nomad.

Now with relatively few possessions, I am living a life richly blessed with freedom, travel, and adventure. My next challenge is to travel to Cuba with no luggage, except for my International Case, Equestrian Belt, and convertible knapsack.

To me, success is not accumulating wealth, status, or power—but being happy and content with what you have.

I'm forever learning, constantly evolving, and with this life thing—I'm just getting started.

 

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URBAN UPCYCLE: ANGELA JOHNSON

words | Brooke Romney

Life is great at throwing curve balls. Angela Johnson was a college graduate with a degree in Speech Communications when she realized she had a back pocket full of public speaking skills but nothing to speak about. At a professional crossroads, she thought about what made her really happy.

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Her mind went back to altering Barbie clothes as a little girl, wearing her grandmother’s fancy party dresses and accessories to high school, and mentally fashioning her own feminine and flattering snowboard gear as she hit the slopes. Each of these revelations pushed her to pursue a fashion degree at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Arizona.

With her fashion degree in hand, Johnson’s first job was cutting patterns for minimum wage in a room that made her sweat in the summer and shiver in the winter...not exactly glamorous couture, but an admirable work ethic and raw talent allowed for quick upward mobility.  After she had paid her dues, Johnson ended up as a production manager of a super cool clothing company, X-Girl and X-Large Manufacturing, owned by music legends Mike D. of the Beastie Boys and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. Over the years, every intricacy of the fashion business was filed away so Johnson could one day use it when she developed her own brand.

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That opportunity came while teaching a fashion class at New School for the Arts and Academics in the early 2000s. Johnson had asked her students to prepare a fashion show with all upcycled garments. To illustrate their assignment she had created a ball gown made out of t-shirts, playing off the juxtaposition between the old jersey fabric and the fancy garment. 

“It turned out really cute, and the students liked it a lot. I ended up getting orders on it shortly after making it and decided to create my entire collection out of upcycled t-shirts,” said Johnson.

This eco-friendly creation married her love of fashion and social responsibility. 

“Eco-friendly fashion is important because we now live in a fast fashion society where all of our clothing is disposable.  It used to be that when you purchased a garment, you kept it for years and even passed it down to your children.  But in the world we live in now, things are out of style almost the minute they hit the store resulting in a lot of waste.  Recycling fashion is one way to give that garment a new life so that it doesn’t end up in the landfill.”

Creating something fashion forward from discarded items is an intense process. Each gown takes 10-50 thrifted shirts that work harmoniously together and result in one original, creative piece. 

This type of upcycled fashion challenges Johnson’s creative limits, but her dedication to her craft has inspired an eclectic and loyal following. She dresses teens looking for prom dresses that make a statement, older women attending art galas, and men who are jumping on board with rockstar inspired blazers. 

Johnson loves adding a personal touch, “People provide their own collection of shirts and then have me make a keepsake for them that will last forever.”

She hopes the next generation of fashion and eco-conscious teens will find more ways to creatively reuse what they already have. Experimenting with something that was headed for the trash is a great way to discover your inner fashion designer. Cut it, tie it, sew it, do what you will to make it into something new. 

Johnson is passionate about educating the next generation of designers. To do this, she has created www.labelhorde.com, which is the online headquarters for the fashion industry in Arizona. She can’t wait to help educate budding tastemakers with fashion classes, camps, and design studio services. It is a great place for teens to gather and learn to sew, sketch, create and break into the fashion industry.

Her best advice to those looking to pursue their passion? Work hard. Learn all you can. Don’t follow the crowd or the rules. Find an era or an icon that inspires you and start there. Don’t be afraid to be different.

 

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Eco Fashion Designer Marina Debris

photographer | Richard Flynn
model | Hannah Kat Jones
hair | Erika Schmidt
makeup | Lori Benson

Sydney artist Marina DeBris has been picking up trash along beaches and creeks for over a dozen years. Her mission began when she moved from Bondi Beach, Australia, to Los Angeles, California.

“In the beginning, I would just pick up stacks of Styrofoam cups and bring them to the local 7-Eleven, but I soon realized that this wasn’t attacking the root problem. I needed a creative way to draw attention to it. The whole idea of making beach detritus into art began in 2009 with the realization that the waste we create always comes back to haunt us."

Trained as a graphic designer at Rhode Island School of Design, Marina’s interest in the intersection of art and the environment has been a constant. “My first goal is to provoke viewers into thinking about the consequences of our habits, and how we can change them. My second goal is to get rid of all the garbage in my garage in a responsible way, of course.”

 

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Why We Love Roma Boots!

Roma Boots merges fashion with philanthropy to give poverty the boot. Our mission is to bring impoverished children throughout the world hope, love, and lasting change through aid and education. For every pair of boots sold, a new pair is donated to a child in need. Additionally, ten percent of all proceeds funds educational initiatives around the world. Roma was founded in 2010 by Samuel Bistrian, who wanted to combine his love of fashion and philanthropy to help children in his home country of Romania.

Roma's ultimate goal is not only to provide aid, but to educate. By doing so we will empower them to contribute their gifts & talents to society, eradicate poverty as a condition and a state of mind to make this world a better place.

From giving a smile to a sad stranger, opening a door for someone, volunteering, buying a hungry person a meal or an impoverished child a pair of boots, we all have something to give. At Roma Boots we are convinced that it is better to give than to receive. We've chosen to give poverty the boot through art, education, fashion, philanthropy and by teaching others the art of giving.

With your help we have been able to donate thousands of Roma Boots over the last five years, in 25 countries, on five continents.

For every pair of boots sold, a brand new pair is donated to impoverished children living in cold and wet climates.

 

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