June 29th, 2011 / posted by paularath

An ecologically sound collaboration of two talented designers.

A Collaboration between Allison Izu and Muumuu Heaven,
an inspired example of recycling and re-design.

We’ve all made bad business decisions and we’ve all had to learn to deal with them.  It’s a part of life, making lemonade out of lemons.  For one Hawaii designer, it was about finding a way to make a whole lot of lemonade out of 2100 pairs of lemon jeans.

In 2007, when Allison Izu began her fashion business featuring denim for the petite woman, she received her first shipment  of 2100 pairs of jeans and discovered they were completely un-sellable.  “The quality and fabrics were all wrong, I could not release this to the boutiques with my name on it,” she said.  So Allison picked herself up and found another manufacturer in California and moved forward with her business. However the 2100 pairs of jeans still sat at her home.

“The jeans constantly haunted me, I tried several times to donate them to non-profit organizations, aid organizations, etc.  But no one wanted them, or they asked me to ship them to other countries, which would cost me several thousands of dollars!” Allison said.  “So, it just sat there, for years.”  Then in April, Allison was getting ready to move, and doing something with the jeans became critical.  “I thought, I wish I could recycle them, and that day I read an article about Deb and Muumuu Heaven, and it clicked!  Where else would you go to recycle clothing?”

That was the beginning of making lemonade out of lemon jeans.  Deb Mascia of Muumuu Heaven worked her magic, creating adorable denim accessories such as coin purses, tissue covers, aprons, teddy bears and bird mobiles.  ” I thought it was so great that Allison contacted us and I am so glad that she hung on to them. Most people by the stage she was at would have turfed them into the landfill.” said Deb.

What started out as a lesson about dealing with difficult decisions soon became a lesson about collaboration and creativity between two Hawaii designers.  “Together we have managed to turn it into a very happy accident. So happy that we’re even throwing a party! Hope to see you all there!” exclaimed Deb in her characteristic uber-enthusaism.

– Paula Rath

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