Sustainable living: sustainability in fashion

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During today’s (11/22/2021) sustainable living show we talked to Leigh Anne Balzekas about sustainability in the fashion world, specifically clothing. She is the co-owner and designer at The Disco Dolls Studio and co-founder and co-director for The Sewist Society.

Balzekas knew growing up she wanted to be in the fashion industry and started thrifting at a young age. While attending Florida State, she was introduced to the different types of fabrics in clothes and wanted to learn more 

“I went to Florida State for fashion design and knew that I wanted to do that from a young age,” said Balzekas. “I was inspired by clothing … going to fashion school at FSU kinda forces you to be creative in your fabric choices. So my journey to sustainability came out of ‘what do I have, what is here locally’ it was 20 years ago so we didn’t have the vast resources we do today.”

Balzekas has been all about sustainability ever since she started her fashion journey. Since the founding of Disco Dolls Studio back in 2010, Balzekas makes sure to use fabric scraps so she can reduce waste. This is something she started doing even before Disco Dolls Studio.

She wants to put the environment first with every decision she makes at Disco Dolls Studio.

“Human rights and the environment just really made sense to me … we all have to be on board for sustainability because it’s the only way that we are going to be able to continue to live in this world and enjoy all of the things we love, like nature.”

When buying clothes, it is very likely the textiles and fabric used to create your clothes are sourced two different ways. 

“Our fabric comes from two different streams,” said Balzekas. “One is the agriculture stream which is natural fibers which are better as far as washing and end of life but there is a lot of industrialization of agriculture which is also a huge problem for the environment and cotton is one of those crops that uses up a lot of water and pesticides … the other stream that our textiles come from is the synthetic industry which is petroleum. Petroleum is what polyester is. It’s what Nylon is.”

The Sewist Society was created as a solution to textile waste. By bringing awareness to the overconsumption of fabric and textiles, The Sewist Society wants to highlight the need for a textile recycling program while providing innovative solutions for excess.

The Sewist Society has created a Patreon for those interested in sewing, mending, quilting, composting textiles, fabric recycling, and more. 

“We do have a patreon. You can get to that through our website. And we are going to create our virtual community center on there and if you are on Patreon you can actually get sessions with me if you need help on a specific project,” said Balzekas.

Listen to the show here: