Years of sewing pillows with her grandmother eventually led Hannah Sullivan to found her own fashion brand.
Sullivan, a second-year global studies student, created TAKE OUT Clothing, her line of reinvigorated thrifted attire, which she launched in September. Sullivan learned to sew from her grandmother, cultivating a passion for the craft at a very young age. Even though she has always loved fashion, Sullivan said it wasn’t until recently that she started to think about how environmentally unsustainable it can be, but struggled to find a sustainable clothing line that was simultaneously in-style and affordable. Sullivan then decided to redesign thrifted clothing, giving new life to otherwise outdated fashion pieces.
“One of the most frustrating things to me is that the industry that I love so much and I hope to work for in the future is one of the most polluting and environmentally and socially unethical industries,” Sullivan said. “So I want to, even though in a very small scale, do what I can to make a difference in that.”
This use of thrifted clothing serves as the inspiration for the name TAKE OUT Clothing. Sullivan said the name works on two levels: “taking out” the aspects of the thrifted clothing that she likes and reinventing them, as well as “taking out” the unethical practices of the fashion industry.
Paige Tuttle, a second-year political science student, said she discovered TAKE OUT through the brand’s Instagram account and knowing the brand is environmentally conscious was a definite selling point. Tuttle said she tries to stray from fast fashion retailers like Forever 21 and H&M that have used factories to mass produce apparel in the past, which adds to the waste generated by the textile industry.
Elisa Ciappi, a second-year global studies student, is the photographer for TAKE OUT Clothing’s website and social media account. Ciappi said she appreciates Sullivan’s vision of creating sustainable fashion and became more mindful of the unethical aspects of the fashion industry after meeting Sullivan.
“(Sullivan is) such a powerhouse and she’s very passion-driven, which I feel is very important,” Ciappi said. “And I really like the fact that she tries to raise awareness of the importance of being environmentally conscious in the apparel industry.”
Sullivan said one of her favorite reinvented pieces of clothing is a zip-up crop top entitled THE B on TAKE OUT’s website. She said she used an oversized, outdated Hawaiian shirt with a trendy light yellow floral pattern on a contrasting black background to convert something a tourist would wear to something that fits in on a college campus. By getting rid of the collar and adding gold details, Hannah said she was able to utilize the intriguing pattern in a more fashionable way.
TAKE OUT’s use of thrifted clothing means every piece is unique. Sullivan said the variety works as both an advantage and disadvantage. The exclusivity of the designs make them all the more special; however, once the fabric is gone, there is no way to find it again. Sullivan said she was especially disappointed to run out of a metallic silver fabric taken from an old skirt. She said the fabric was used to redesign jackets and line pockets, but she has been unable to find a similar fabric since running out. Despite the disadvantages, Sullivan said she hopes to continue using as much of the thrifted clothing as possible including zippers, buttons and other hardware. She said she hopes to stray from buying new material even as she expands the brand.
“I kind of go thrift shopping, almost like fabric shopping where I’m not actually looking at the clothes, I’m just looking at if the fabric is cool,” Sullivan said. “And then I can take it apart and make it something different.”
TAKE OUT is currently a one-woman operation for the most part, and Sullivan said taking care of every aspect of the business can become overwhelming. She said she hopes to keep designing for the everyday college woman, and once she expands the brand, she plans to make custom clothing for college students in the future.
“Thrifted clothing has its own little personality,” Sullivan said. “I think that’s the cool thing about using thrift is that it’s been used by people before, so it has a story. It has a story and now you get to make it your own.”