I recently had the chance to discuss with SCRAPPED founders, Alexa McClurg & Blake Matrone. Together McClurg & Matrone hit the nail on the head when it comes to the intersection between fashion and sustainability. You may have come across SCRAPPED from one of their viral videos on TikTok or you may be stepping in blind, either way, keep reading to find out why SCRAPPED should be your summer go-to brand (this one is for you tote motherfuckers).
Your website reads that both of you guys [Blake & Alexa] are recent college graduates. Congratulations on that, graduating is an incredible feat especially through a pandemic. How did you two navigate the shift from being students to brand owners? Do you two work outside of SCRAPPED? And how well did you two position yourselves in college to bring SCRAPPED to life?
We started the brand during our final semester of college. We had to manage starting up the brand, working our current jobs all while trying to graduate. After graduation, it became a lot easier to manage just the brand and our work. We were then able to put our talents and degrees (Business Management & Graphic Design) to use.
Yes, we both currently work part time jobs outside of SCRAPPED.
In college I (Blake) majored in Business Management, and Alexa majored in Graphic Design which are two crucial parts to our business, and combining them made everything come to life. We had to make sure to designate time every day to the business and had to sacrifice almost all of our free time during those first few months.
Your website reads that around 80% of clothes end up in landfills, which I appreciated because I think people greatly underestimate the amount of clothes that end up in landfills and often see the clothing donation process as neat and un-nuanced. How central is sustainability for you? And how do you think that has affected your relationship with your consumers?
Sustainability is the central part of the brand. Even before SCRAPPED, we thrifted just about every piece of clothing we own and make conscious efforts to choose sustainable options in other parts of our lives as well. We both wanted to start a clothing brand, but didn’t want to add to the fast fashion industry so we found a way to start a clothing brand while making it sustainable.
I think we are able to reach our consumers in two different ways. We are able to reach those that want to promote sustainability in fashion and those that just want a very unique piece. This is a combination that allows us to stay true to our mission while giving people a unique product they love.
Upcycling, though it has not infiltrated most homes, is not something new and has been on the rise for quite some time now. How do you set yourself apart from others who attempt to do things that parallel SCRAPPED?
It’s great to see upcycling on the rise and it’s definitely here to stay which is really exciting to see. What really sets us apart from others who parallel SCRAPPED is our transparency and our designs. We want our customers to know exactly what the pieces are made of, where they’re from, how they’re made, and who made them. All of our designs are also completely unique and 1 of 1.
How easy or difficult is the sourcing? I can imagine myself feeling indecisive, falling in love with tons of patterns and pieces. Is there a certain system in place to ensure that you are getting items that you truly love and to ensure that you are not getting products in excess?
This is something that we struggled with a little bit in the beginning and it still can be very difficult to decide on what materials to choose. We don’t have a real system in place, it just comes down to what materials inspire our designs right away. We try to be very selective and only get things we absolutely love. Luckily we have also gotten quite a bit of donations from family and friends and we continue to encourage this because we can bring these old pieces of clothing back to life.
What does your production process look like? I follow SCRAPPED on Instagram & TikTok, what stands out to me is the transparency. I love a brand where I can watch a story unfold—from sourcing to shipping drop-offs. In a way, despite having an online storefront we are able to get this sort’ve mom-and-pop feel, which adds layers of authenticity and credibility. Does that ever cross your mind?
In production we first have to source the materials coming either from thrift stores, garage sales, etc. or donations. Next we then come up with the designs based on our inventory. Alexa cuts the bags and does the majority of the designs. I (Blake) then sew the bags together.
Yes this definitely crosses our minds. When someone buys a product we want them to know exactly what they will be getting. Something like knowing who we are on a personal level vs. a brand level can really set us apart. We want to be exactly ourselves and show who we are.
If you had a surplus of resources, how would you pump it into SCRAPPED? Would you increase quantities? Branch off and work on other projects within SCRAPPED?
If we had a surplus of resources, I think the first step would be to put all of our time and effort into SCRAPPED, and we would probably have to quit our jobs to make sure SCRAPPED becomes all it can be.
We would definitely increase quantities and eventually hire people to do the tasks that take up a lot of time, giving us more time to put into our products and designs.
We do want to branch out to other pieces of clothing but we still want to keep tote bags the focal point of our business. We have plans to begin screen printing on vintage shirts, hats, and our own bags.
Would you say that your pieces reflect trends or an image you have worked to curate?
I think there is a combination of both trends as well as our image. We have a mission which is to not only be sustainable within our own business, but to encourage and promote this movement across the fashion industry. Trends are important because it’s what the customer often wants. We are able to use trends and still make them our own, like when we use a Harley Davidson t-shirt to make a tote bag.
SCRAPPED is a partnership, which is something that appears to be integral to the brand. In what ways has SCRAPPED benefited from being a partnership as opposed to being a passion project that either one of you could’ve done alone?
Having the both of us working together has really made the brand what it is. We both have our talents and skills that we are best at and they each compliment each other. Alexa is more artistic and is great with the designs. Blake has the talent to sew and is able to run the business/marketing side of things as well. Having the two of us allows the brand to truly flourish and be the best that it can be.
What can we expect from SCRAPPED in the future? When’s the next big drop?
For the future we plan to start doing drops every 4-6 weeks that are smaller. This plan might change as we continue to grow, but we see this as our future plan.
We will do larger drops as well that may be more diverse as we begin making other pieces outside of tote bags.
Tote bags will remain our focal point, but the future plan is to begin diversifying to new pieces.
This is your section to say anything you’d like to our audience:
We would like to thank everyone for supporting this dream of ours and following our journey. It means the world to us.
You can find us at www.scrappedclothing.com as well as IG & TikTok: @scrapped.co
This is only the beginning and we plan to take this a long way.