It Began with a Surprise

My first order from zero-waste designer tonle was a surprise. They were offering a surprise box of 3 items from their spring collection. I had noticed the tree rings and succulents in some of their inking, and included this note in my order on February 27, 2016: “I love trees! In skirts and dresses, I prefer full/circle/a-line styles. Thank you for offering this dreamy gift box!”

Kheang Dress by Vanna

A week later two dresses and a tote bag arrived. I did not need another tote bag, and I gave the screen-printed sewing machine on recycled canvas to a friend who used it for short trips to market. The gray and black keang dress made by Vanna was a style I had never worn. In the past 2.5 years, I have noticed that it continues to look flattering in every season. The black santi dress made by Kheng has become my favorite: ideal for special occasions with simple jewelry and fun to accessorize with bright scarves or belts.

Santi Dress by Kheng

I have always preferred comfort over style, and with tonle I received all I could want in clothing: designs I love in curve-friendly cuts in remnant fabrics that feel good and are easy to take care of, made by a caring community of survivors and dreamers. In December 2016 as I listened to the Change Creator podcast about tonle founder Rachel Faller, I realized that alongside my growing concern for the makers of my clothing, I also wanted to go against the sierras of waste created by fast fashion. Beyond purchasing dresses, I had bought into the idea of zero-waste clothing, and I wanted to advocate for it. I decided to wear tonle for every gig I booked for myself in 2017. I bought a third dress to accommodate a busy spring: grey voleak with hand-printed tree branches made by Navy, because I still love trees.

voleak dress by Navy

Since then, I have discovered more companies that reclaim remnants and fashion them into beautiful and functional goods. I present this blog Waste Less Wares because trash can become treasure, because limits can sharpen creativity, and because makers who upcycle repair the world.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, Krystal will receive a commission for sharing about makers who upcycle.

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