Thanks Akiko for being a guest blogger!
|Upcycled tote Grocery bag Everyday Bag Book Bag|
Tell us a little about yourself and what you sell.
My name is Akiko and I started a business called 5th Season: Clothing Reborn, where discarded clothing and textiles are innovatively and artistically transformed into fashionable, 100% hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind bags in an effort to divert trash from the landfill. Didn't someone once say, “One man's trash is another man's treasure”? ;) Well, at 5th Season, we literally practice that through our creations. Through our creations, we hope to resonate the importance of reducing our consumption and waste by challenging each other to creatively look at consumer products beyond their original intended purposes.
The name '5th Season' was chosen to signify that discarded material can enjoy yet another season – reincarnated, upcycled and refashioned into something new and unique.
Our product line covers messenger bags, makeup bags, totes, shoulder bags, hip pouches, electronic sleeves, diaper bags... I am always designing and creating new products and am open to input!
|Upcycled clutch Makeup bag Pencil bag|
I grew up in a household that didn't produce much waste. My parents reuse and reuse and reuse and then reuse some more ;) They aren't big consumers. They turn whatever they already have into whatever they need. Some recent examples: they wanted a bench, so my father felled the dead aspen in his backyard and made it out of that; my mother wanted planter boxes, so my father planed old fence boards and made a whole bunch; my mother wanted some plant wires for her sweet peas, so she wove together some grape vine trimmings from my father's vineyard; my father wanted a water filtering system for his pond, so he “MacGyver'ed” old egg crates and a cracked plastic bin and made one.
Growing up and watching my parents fulfill their needs this way, I learned to be resourceful and creative about fulfilling my own needs. This influence began at a very young age. Instead of LEGOs, my brothers and I had a box of old toilet paper cores, egg cartons, milk jugs, kamaboko wooden blocks and other clean trash to create with – it was awesome! I was also taught to sew at a young age by my grandmother and mother. They are both very talented sewers/creators. My grandmother takes scraps of fabric, paper, thread and whatever other “trash” she finds and creates wonderful pouches, jewelry, figurines and apparel out of them. She is incredibly talented and dedicated to her work. She's 88 and still busting her butt! My father is also very handy and is always creating and fixing. He has always been this way. When he was only 7, he rummaged through junk yards and built himself a radio. I absolutely love that. The determination and discipline to work for what you want. So I think it was a natural progression for me. My “reuse everything”/“don't you dare waste anything” upbringing + acquired sewing skills + innate enthusiasm to create = 5th Season.
|iPad sleeve Upcycled Recycled Burlap Circle appliqués|
The first time I made an upcycled bag was when I needed a yoga mat bag. I remembered I had some old pants that I no longer wore. Bam. I turned one leg into the body and the other leg into an adjustable strap.
I know that it is my privilege, not my right, to produce waste and then stash it in someone else's backyard. At the end of each school year, year after year, seeing dumpsters brimming with “trash” and whole apartment parking lots turning into a land of disposals, I felt rather overwhelmed to take some sort of action against it. Through 5th Season, I feel like I am contributing as a sustainable consumer by not only repurposing for my own use but providing alternative products for my customers. It's heartwarming to know that what I create was born out of something that was deemed useless...like I rescued something and gave it new life. It's quite personal for me.
|Upcycled medium messenger bag Corduroy Red Floral|
I realize each day that there are number of things I mindlessly take for granted. Being able to tap into my imagination and design, then create with my own two hands...that's magical. I can not take that for granted. The whole process emphasizes the need to not only be grateful for my abilities but use and share them for the good of the community. I love it.
|Upcycled belt pouch Hip bag|
Visit 5th Season's Etsy shop to see all of her creations.