A North Carolina State University student turned entrepreneur with her recycled textile company is now coming to Greenville with the hope to change sustainable fashion.
NC State junior political science major, Emily Neville, began Reborn Clothing Co. as a sophomore after seeing the problem many people make of throwing clothes away. She began reaching out to NC State’s campus for their surplus material.
East Carolina University is the second university to come on board and will be accessible at University Book Exchange (U.B.E.) this June. People, organizations and schools will have the opportunity to donate. Surplus items from ECU will be donated to Reborn and sold at U.B.E.
“I felt like it was a very limited section of the marketplace and, so, I wanted to change that and make it accessible to consumers and take the set products for them to be able to upcycle items of their own,” said Neville.
Neville learned how to sew in middle school and she started taking classes at Loving Stitches, a quilting shop in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She said she would constantly be making updates to her wardrobe over time.
“If I didn’t like the neckline of something I would change it all under the premise of wanting to get my clothing from the back of my closet and back to being used,” Neville said.
As for the universities, Neville and her team take a huge volume of surplus branded apparel which became outdated or out of stock every year.
Then, with the branded material such as the ECU pirate wheel and shirts with the slogan “All Hands on Deck,” they turn it into cozies, duffel bags, laptop sleeves and cosmetic bags, among other items. These products range from $6.99 to $45, according to Neville.
“This makes our section in retail stores a little bit more unique because once the given amount of product from a certain surplus is gone, it may not necessarily be of the same material or have the same pattern as the first,” Neville said. “We will always be changing inventory.”
Steve Mangano is one of Reborn’s first investors, as well as a mentor to Neville. Mangano met her at a coworking space called The Loading Dock in Raleigh, North Carolina. He helps with Reborn marketing, strategy and getting in touch with potential investors within the industry.
“The entire approach Reborn has rather than other companies is because it’s taking products that are out there and repurposing them rather than others that look at different uses of fiber, breaking down products to their core material and taking plastic to make fiber,” Mangano said. “Reborn is taking the integrity of the original product and making it a new unique product.”
The line is held exclusively at U.B.E. and in Raleigh, Reborn Clothing merchandise is held at the Red and White Shop and Wolfpack Outfitters, which is the NC State’s university bookstore. Neville said products are also sold online via the Reborn Clothing Co. website.
Neville said they have created a “closed-loop system” for ECU. The system being surplus material from ECU events will be brought back into the school’s economy.
Neville said Reborn Clothing also takes costumer’s sentimental items, such as college tees, baby onesies and other garments, and give it a new meaning.
“As brands try to tackle this huge problem of textile waste and continue to create more products that would no longer go into a landfill and sort of divert it to making it into a high-value product gives it potential into many different new areas such as clothing and bags,” Mangano said.
Products range eight to 16 garments, and Reborn asks what design element they would like to capture according to Emma Wang, Reborn Clothing Co.’s director of product development.
“Every article (of clothing) has a story and it’s important to highlight whatever makes it special to the customer when it’s shipped to us and turning your memories into something that can be used every day even though you may not use those exact garments anymore,” Wang said.
Wang said Reborn Clothing has been working with other companies as well as catering to the university market. Reborn has worked with companies such as Decibel Management, turning their event banner’s into tote bags as well as partnering with Sunbrella Fabrics and repurposing their textiles too.