Words from the Wise: And Again

The art of upcycling came naturally to Morgan Young, who often found herself thrifting through her family’s closets. “My mom and grandma never got rid of any clothing. They always had an insane amount of vintage, so I began by upcycling that,” Morgan explained of her early days. Fast forward a few years and, while at the University of Delaware studying fashion, Morgan and her partner Greg Harder launched a zero waste patchwork denim brand, establishing it first on their own personal Instagram accounts and growing it from there. The duo hadn’t realized the mountain they were about to climb — and how desperately the planet needed it. As they were to find out, eighty percent of discarded textiles end up in landfill. The other twenty percent is salvaged through reuse or recycling. From that twenty percent, And Again was born.

Early on, the two partnered with the local GoodWill to create new And Again pieces out of damaged jeans that weren’t fit for sale on the retail floor. By upcycling — recycling previously owned garments and fabrics into entirely new and wearable pieces — Morgan was able to take what would otherwise end up in landfill and transform it into an entirely new denim collection.

After the pair graduated, they moved their studio to Brooklyn, where they began learning about the world of deadstock. Deadstock materials, which are redirected excess fabrics from the manufacturing stage that are on their way to landfill, are salvaged by designers like Morgan who want to give them a second life in attempts of creating zero waste pieces.

To be zero waste is to leave no scraps behind, which for a fashion brand is no easy feat. “We started to experiment with zero waste and how we could achieve it through patchwork. We created a textile sandwich of all of the leftover scraps between two layers of fabric, and quilted it. We use transparent fabric to sandwich the scraps so you can look at all of the waste that would have been otherwise thrown away.”

In order to achieve her zero waste mission, Morgan lets the materials lead the way. Instead of designing a piece and then finding the materials necessary to create it, she finds the materials first. She’s currently working on a collection featuring upholstery fabric that she discovered at a garage sale from a furniture manufacturer who was going out of business. “It’s always random where we get our materials from,” Morgan said. Part of what allows Morgan to have the materials lead the way is that her designs are genderless, and that freedom allows her to make the most of any stumbled-upon material. Being genderless has become a crucial aspect of And Again, as the brand has come to learn what their target shopper wants. “The gen Z shopper isn’t looking for menswear or womenswear. You can be whatever you want to be. You can express yourself in any way,” Morgan said of her customer base. “We started as womenswear but soon transitioned into genderless once we began to see how the nature of our designs worked for non-binary people. It was an organic transition from the early stages in college to what we do now.”

The decision to become a genderless brand felt particularly natural for Morgan and Greg, who often shared clothes with one another. “My personal style and my partner’s style are very similar, and because we’ve gone through so many moves we’ve constantly had to downsize. Having genderless clothing is what allowed us to share everything,” Morgan explained.

Having moved from their college dorm rooms to their Brooklyn studio to the basement of Greg’s parents house, And Again has gone through many evolutions and it hasn’t always been easy. “Because we were so young when we started, we were getting pulled in so many directions,” Morgan said of their naiveté. “When someone said jump, we asked how high, and we lost our love for doing it.” While the pair came to learn that the big box retail route wasn’t for them, they were reminded of why they started in the first place. “I don’t have to please a single person. I’m doing it for the love of creativity, and that’s where I’ve found success."

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