Uniquely Upcycled: How Two St. Louis Designers Are Recreating Fashion (Part 2)

vogue purse by rachel shelton
The Vogue Purse: one of Rachel Shelton's upcycled bags

Editor’s note: Missed the first post in this series? Check out Talancia’s profile of Samantha Miller’s Everything…S.A.M.

Sew, Good and Trendy’s owner and creator, Rachel Shelton, is on a mission to make sure women are fashionably eco-friendly while doing their part to save the planet. She uses her artistic knack and skilled hands to create super chic products from upcycled materials you may regard as trash. For example, many of Sew, Good and Trendy’s bags (purses) and shopping totes’ exteriors are made from reclaimed fabrics, the interfacings are made from recycled soda bottles and cotton mill scraps, and left over plastic bags and cardboard are used to give the bags their structure.

“I find that so many people think eco-friendly has to be ‘crunchy’ and not pretty. When I see a beautiful upholstery sample that has been discontinued and destined for a landfill, I see loads of awesome and fashionable possibilities,” said Shelton.

Avid sewer since the first grade and former nuclear engineer, Shelton combined the sewing skills she learned from her family, indie craft friends and various “how to” books to make a positive impact on her family and the environment. She set up a home sewing studio and began rescuing unused scraps of fabric from the design departments of Patricia Stevens College and Maryville University’s Art and Design School and never looked back!

The durable, fashionable upcycled bag

Sew, Good and Trendy’s purses are made of durable fabrics that can support up to 22 pounds; many include a coordinating lightweight shopping bag that folds up and tuck inside so you’ll be ready to shop any time! You are welcome to customize your bag by choosing from an array of embroidery, fabrics and fasteners options. Just add in a clutch and wristlet to complete to your eco-chic collection. These upcycled products are a great way to begin living greener, but if you are still having trouble convincing the rest of the family, try following Shelton’s practical advice.

rachel shelton and her daughters
Rachel Shelton and her daughters

“As a mom of two, I believe adding things your children already love to their new, green lifestyle will make it more exciting for them. My daughters love princesses, so we never leave home without their reusable princess shopping tote. They are having fun while helping the planet. It’s important to start small and with a bit of determination, you’ll be making more eco-friendly choices in no time,” said Shelton.

Browse Sew, Good and Trendy’s entire collection at www.sewgoodandtrendy.com and start having a positive impact while shopping. If you want to pick up a few insider tips, check out a calendar of events to meet the designer at a trade show, farmers’ markets or festival near you!

  1. Hilary

    That’s awesome! I am all about saving the environment. My dad works in the county ER and noticed that all the straps used on ambulance backboards were being thrown away so he started collecting them and he makes bags out of them! These are some of my favorite: http://badtadmd.com/?p=305.

    Thanks for sharing!

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