Tell us a bit about yourself and what you make.
My name is Tawny Holt and I'm 26 years old. I make one of a kind clothing for women from recycled materials under the label Armour sans Anguish. I work from my home in lovely Modesto, CA and can be found dancing with my Go-Go troupe, The Radiowaves when I'm not knee-deep in fabric and pretty bits. I also enjoy thrifting, bike riding, and cooking up unique foods.
How did you start making clothing?
I literally got a sewing machine for Christmas 5 years ago and started selling clothing 4 and a half years ago. I sauntered into a local boutique, Queen Mab's, and they asked me where I got the clothes I was wearing. When I sheepishly announced that I had made them they asked if I would consider selling other pieces through their shop. After a couple of successful mini-collections of one-of-a-kinds in Queen Mab's, I started to expand Armour sans Anguish by selling through other shops and online.
What kind of person shops Armour sans Anguish?
I would like to think it's the hopeless romantic; the eccentric girl who wants to wear the dresses she dreamed up as a little girl, but with a refined and adult twist.
Tell us about your materials. What new supplies do you use? What recycled?
Literally all of the supplies I use are recycled, save for my sewing machines and scissors! I even get thread, zippers, buttons, and needles at second hand stores. I become a bit obsessed, as I try to make sure that even my hang tags are printed on papers I've found at garage sales or thrift stores. It is always my intention to use what is already out in the world.
Why do you use recycled materials?
Not only do I want to contribute to the sustainability of our world, but I am also simply drawn to vintage materials--I think they tell better stories and lend themselves to the kind of romanticism I want to create.
Which item of yours is your favourite?
My items are always revolving and coming in and out of my life, so my "favorites" are constantly changing. Right now I'm in giddy love with The Blue Lagoon Dress because it all came together using colors I don't normally use. I was delighted with the result.
What advice would you give to designers who want to start working for themselves?
I would encourage an attentiveness to a sustainable rate of growth. Only take on what you're comfortable with as there is a desire from the eco community to do business with folks who keep their operations intentionally small.
What's your best eco-tip?
Networking with other eco-crafters and designers! Folks who are interested in sustainability are eager to find out how they can pass on their production "waste" to other folks who could use them. Don't be afraid to ask!
Check out the Armour sans Anguish Etsy store.
I love the increasing variety of recycled handmade clothing online. Some might say it's counter-productive of me to feature the 'competition' here, but I really want to get these labels out there and show you that there are plenty of ethical eye-candy options. If you know of a recycled label for a future eco-find feature, please comment below!