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NCSU students turn sentimental items into new products

Posted December 18, 2017 7:22 a.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 2:06 p.m. EDT

— A lot of people are donating clothing this time of year, but some items in their closets may have too many memories for them to be given away.

A group of N.C. State students has created a company that breathes new life into special old clothes, with the goal of transforming items people no longer wear into useable products.

NCSU students turn sentimental items into new products

At the campus's Innovation Hall, computers, scissors and patterns are on the table, and students are hard at work. It's all the realization of Emily Neville's dream.

The political science major found students and professors in the College of Textiles who liked her idea, and, together, the group co-founded Reborn Clothing.

The idea is simple. Reborn can turn items people no longer wear -- maybe an old pair of jeans with some sentimental value -- into something people can use now, like a laptop case.

"There's a lot you can make out of old clothing," said Neville. "We make the patterns and our clients supply the garments."

NCSU students turn sentimental items into new products

The project is doing much more than just saving memories. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American throws away about 70 pounds of clothing every year.

"We're hoping that we're a solution to textile waste in the back of each of our own closets," said Nevillle. "The stuff that's sat there for 10 or 15 years, but you don't want to throw it away."

The company is expanding its product line to include items like stuffed animals and neckties.

Textiles student Emma Wang hopes Reborn can keep some of those memory-filled clothes out of the landfill -- and keep adding to their story.

"I can still use it and relive those memories when I use my laptop case or my pencil case," said Wang. "It really is a part of who you are."

Reborn Clothing Co. has a website where you can shop for products ranging from a $15 pencil or makeup brush case to a $30 laptop sleeve.