Students use recycled denim to create fashion company
Junior Morgan Young’s eyes are glued to the runway. The dream that she has been imagining for so long is finally here. As she looks at the model, she can’t help but notice everyone’s reactions around her. People are staring, ogling, all whispering about the jeans that the model is wearing. It is at this time that Young’s heart swells with pride. Those are her jeans, the ones that she spent hours reshaping and sewing back together from several scraps of denim to create something new. When Young made her first pair, she didn’t just create a pair of jeans. She created a business.
In September, juniors Morgan Young and Greg Harder started fashion company AndAgain Co., which uses recycled denim to create brand new pairs of jeans.
While Young has the vision of the designs and does the actual sewing, Harder controls the marketing strategies that go into managing a new business.
“Our purpose is to take all pairs of jeans or any denim product and transform them into new products,” Young says. “Denim apparel causes the most pollution over any other fabric. We are both really passionate about sustainability.”
Young was inspired by street style that she saw in fashion shows around the world. She says the attendees of these fashion shows are her target market.
“I want someone who goes to these fashion shows because they are unique and wants to wear them because of that,” Young says.
Each piece is handmade. They source most of the denim from secondhand stores and donations.
“From there I will have an idea,” Young says. “It’s mostly just sewing skills and being able to source everything. Very time consuming. Minimum time for one pair is three-and-a-half to four hours.”
Each item is also made to order, which Young says enhances her flair as a designer and makes her pieces different than what one sees in department stores. Because each pair of jeans is not made from the same material, there are infinite combinations, therefore the buyer has the chance to be unique.
The company was started back in September, so both Young and Harder have struggled at times to continuously gather and gain brand awareness.
Harder said that their company is not just looking to appeal to the student, but customers who are dedicated to fashion. They believe that their product is for the buyer who wants to remain on trend but also know that the homemade uniqueness that has gone into the product they are purchasing.
There is more to meets the eye when running a business. Young said that there is constant planning and promotion, and using trial and error is what they found that works best to market.
“We are constantly researching what is the best way to get into contact with certain consumers,” Harder says. “We love to interact with other brands that have a similar passion for sustainability.”
There was a turning point when both Young and Harder realized that their hard work was paying off.
“A stylist had reached out to us and she asked if she could promote us,” Young says. “It gave me the confidence to keep pursuing it.”
The one worry that both Young and Harder have about expanding their company is the potential sacrifice of their motto of sustainability.
“I don’t want to sacrifice what I believe in for a big corporation,” Young says. “And because we started this so early I hope it would get me somewhere before I graduated.”
The business world has had some surprises along the way for the duo.
“How often things change because you think an idea will last totally foolproof, but we probably change things about our business almost every day,” Young says. “I didn’t realize how quickly a business would need to progress and change.”
The two have been learning and developing new skills to help their business in their marketing and fashion apparel classes. Most of them are creative based which encourages big possibilities.
Looking toward the future, Harder says there are definitely things that they want to improve on.
“I want to learn how to manage the ability to scale increase in size and output,” he says. “I also want to maintain the values and attractiveness of smaller size.”
But the overarching theme for AndAgain Co. is the feeling of individuality, and that each pair of pants is helping the sustainability project.
“What makes us stand out is made to order and the personal feeling that comes with each pair of pants,” Young says. “Even if we did one day get 100 orders we wouldn’t sacrifice the integrity of what we do simply to have a faster output in general.”