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Meet Estefanie Michelle of Retail Kills in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Estefanie Michelle.

Estefanie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Originally an artist (painter), I have always loved to create and have carried a passion to support the environment. After years of painting and art shows, I stumbled upon textiles and a love for vintage. I started playing around with unique used clothing and reconstructing it for myself with acid washing, sewing, and embellishing. Then I couldn’t stop! I loved every aspect from hunting for the unique pieces to the designing and reconstructing stages. The sound of the sewing machine and the feel of the fabric running through my fingers was turning my 3D art into 4D!

Then, before I knew it, I started creating and selling to friends and so on. I moved on to researching the lifestyle behind secondhand clothing and the sustainability that comes with it and behind it. I wanted to make a small business dedicated to that cause. So out of all that, Retail Kills was born.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The struggle is always apart of the success of a company, I believe. Retail Kills is built on the foundation of struggles, but over time, with each brick comes the accomplishments my small business is thriving on. These accomplishments have developed from our first sale to having our first fashion booth at an art show. We still have struggles but embrace them and turn them into those solid bricks of accomplishments. The fashion industry is tough and too huge to even scratch the surface of. It’s overwhelming, but I take it day by day and just learn.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Retail Kills – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Each of our pieces is hand-selected and designed to create an individual and unique piece while simultaneously fostering sustainable clothing. Retail Kills brings new value to unwanted basics and forgotten vintage pieces while providing one of a kind, affordable fashion. We do everything in our studio, taking what already exists and transforming it into something fresh. Style is reborn without any walls or labels. To keep it simple: Unhomogenized & Androgynous.

Our clothes are made for anyone to enjoy no matter what it is. However, it also serves a purpose, bringing awareness to how large retail clothing companies are killing smaller companies and the environment with their “fast fashion”. The clothing business stands as the second most damaging industry on the planet, exploitative of both people and the environment. At Retail Kills, we put our profits back into the environment and keep everything else simple and natural. Follow us on our blog and join us as we grow and fight for the environment.
All of our clothes and accessories are handpicked and brought back to the studio from second-hand stores all over Los Angeles. We find so many amazing things in this big city that could use a makeover and a new home, from handbags and jewelry to a variety of clothes. We touch and spend time with every item from cropping to acid washing and then hand washing and steaming. We work to transfer these items away from mass production and machines and into human hands.

Each one of our sales gives a percentage of its profits to foundations that help the environment. At the end of the month, we research a foundation that is dedicated to protecting the earth and donate all the designated money on behalf of Retail Kills.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
The future mission of Retail Kills is to inspire people to think before they shop and to shop small and sustainably. We aim to help plant dozens of trees each year and help local animal shelters in nearby communities. My plans involve expanding my small company with bigger ideas and contributing to this ethical movement. I would love to keep pushing Retail Kills forward into the future and create it to be a brand of change.

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