Imagine if you could have a one-of-a-kind denim jacket that also helps save the planet - say hello to Shop Alexina.
At its core, Shop Alexina takes secondhand denim jackets and upcycles them to promote and advocate the secondhand clothing industry. Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world and so, Shop Alexina is creating clothing pieces to combat the ongoing contamination.
"Everything that goes into the designs we create is secondhand, handsewn, and consciously purchased that are one-of-a-kind and have a story to them," said founder Alexina Prather.
For example, a denim jacket that was hand-embroidered and had sunflowers on the back also included a white doily that her grandmother gave her. She sold it to a friend of hers because her grandfather loved sunflowers.
"That one was special," she recalls. "I loved how it came out and who it went to."
When she works on the jackets, they are either custom-orders or are her own creations. Her specialty is hand-embroidery or to use vintage shirts in her designs. If you have a t-shirt with a huge stain on the shirt that you can't wear anymore, she can repurpose and put it on a jacket. Voila! You have probably the coolest item in your closet now.
The Massachusetts native is now using her secondhand knowledge and fabric to give back to the city she has called home for the past year.
"By nature of what I do, I have buckets of fabric and material that I've collected over the years. I first offered it to friends and family and now offer it to those who are struggling financially right now," she said. "I hate the reason and need for it but the fact that I can help and use the skills that I have to help during this time is amazing."
She was actually ironing as we spoke over the phone.
Although it means taking a break from denim being her number one canvas, Alexina is taking the time to use her social media platform to educate others; If you're cleaning out your closet, for example, don't throw the clothes away! You can donate them to your local thrift store. The point is to make sure your cute shirt doesn't end up in a trash pile.
As a Remake Ambassador, she doesn't just talk the talk, but she walks the walk too. For the past year, she has committed to only buying secondhand clothing so she represents her brand and her lifestyle. The change started in August 2019 when she started a Master's program at the University of Miami on sustainable clothing.
"I started researching more about building a clothing brand and all that went into it and realized that what I'm doing could have a positive impact," she said. "It really shifted my mindset."
To ensure her brand uses the same mantra, all her tags are old Trader Joe's paper bags and her shipping materials are secondhand items.
"It was more of an a-ha moment like 'Wait a minute, this could be a great space to advocate this'," she said. "The hardest part is the commitment to it."
Besides her personal commitment to the lifestyle, she credits the Miami community for one of the reasons she has been able to succeed. After living in New York for two years, she notes there is a stark contrast between how people support small businesses there versus here in South Florida.
"People are really warm and welcoming and build and lift each other up. This is very specific to Miami," she said. "You probably couldn't do this in New York. You'd probably find your own circle in that massive city but Miami is a perfect size where you can really tap into the community. I'm very grateful to have started this in Miami."
What would your perfect jacket look like? Maybe you should talk to Alexina about it and drop your idea in the comments below!