One Westchester woman works to revolutionize the children’s fashion space by repurposing gently used clothing and serving the greater good.
At a time when many businesses faced hardship, one Westchester woman saw an opportunity to launch her own startup and change the way that people think about repurposing kids’ clothing — while also reducing garment waste and giving back to her local community.
For Colleen Turner, a 20-year veteran in the fashion industry with experience designing for Macy’s and the Kardashians, repurposing kids’ clothing gives her an opportunity to follow her passion and combat issues in the fashion industry. “It gave me an opportunity to focus on what’s important to me and what’s important for the industry,” she says.
Turner is the Founder and CEO of Play It Forward Clothing, a startup focused on creating a space for repurposed clothing and promoting environmental consciousness. The new business, which launched in August, collects gently used kid’s clothing and re-uses them to create exclusive designs and themed clothing lines.
According to Turner, the fashion industry is a leading producer of global waste — and she wants to chart a different course. “This business model and plan is zero-waste and it’s sustainable. We really want to educate people about the industry and to think twice about pre-loved clothing,” she explains. She adds that brands across the world dump fabrics and textile garments in landfills, with dyes and chemicals polluting the Earth.
By shopping with a company like Play It Forward Clothing, Turner says that her customers are reducing their carbon footprint and paying it forward to their local community, hence the play on words with the name. (The line can be found on Play It Forward’s website, Instagram and Facebook pages; Turner is currently running a first-time shopper discount code:‘15OFFNEWCUSTOMER’.)
Play It Forward is also giving back. With every purchase made on the website, Turner donates a bundle of clothing to a charity in Westchester. This charitable component is a major tenet of the business and, although she has single-handedly launched the company on her own, she has relied on support from her community in Westchester.
“This started naturally, even before the pandemic, when friends of mine would drop off bags and bags of clothing for me,” she notes.
Another component of Play It Forward is the timeless element of children’s clothing: “Parents are connected to the memories that children wear in clothes,” Turner says. “When they donate or sell on our website, they see a second life coming out of the garments.”
“People right now love a good mission and a good purpose, and they want to do good,” she adds. Turner is hoping that her mission will resonate with customers, as she hopes to expand and take advantage of the online market boom.
Ultimately, Turner envisions delivering intimately tailored and exclusive items all while inspiring the future generation to reduce their carbon footprint and change the way people shop for kids’ clothing.