Stephens College sophomores Katie Ciolino and Hannah Kleman have always been bothered by the amount of fashion waste in the world.
They’re not fans of fast fashion — a retail strategy that involves mass-producing popular items quickly, before they lose their appeal. It has become a go-to for younger shoppers.
“All the fast fashion or trends or micro trends last two weeks, then everyone’s bored of it,” said Ciolino.
After meeting in a sewing class at Stephens College last year, Ciolino and Kleman instantly connected while waiting to use their class’ shared iron, and over time they became best friends.
Together, they created a brand of clothing and five weeks ago debuted their creations at Kansas City Fashion Week.
“We want to make things that are timeless,” Ciolino said.
From classroom to career goals
Last school year, the two friends began meeting for long sessions at Shortwave Coffee, where they made plans for their new brand.
After hours of going through color schemes and patchworks, the two solidified their decisions, and created a line with bright patterns and colors to highlight the brand’s 70s aesthetic. They named it Reduce.
“We were just like, why don’t we go for it? And now we’re looking at it more as a career goal,” said Kleman.
From tops and jeans to bucket hats, each Reduce item is a one-of-a-kind article, according to Ciolino and Kleman. The line has mainly stuck with a style called sportswear, also known as everyday wear.
They typically search for perfect fabrics and samples at resale shops then transform them into new, up-scale pieces through dyes and combining garments.