SAN DIEGO — During the holiday season, most people are planning on doing a lot of shopping. While much of the fashion industry can be wasteful in their production, one business in Barrio Logan is at the forefront of sustainability where the owner of Sew Loka is turning all kinds of material into fashion.
Some of the fabric may look like scraps that people would toss, but not to the owner, Claudia Rodríguez-Biezunski. Pieces of cloth are artistic gems to her and inspiration for some really cool designs.
“We have a lot of denim jackets…these were a lot of fun,” Claudia said as she showed her racks of unique designs.
People from all around know that she can work magic which is why they drop off all kinds of fabric. From samples of upholstery that you would find at furniture stores to sweatshirts that never got printed on.
One example was the inner lining of a 1963 Impala. Claudia added her own special touches and in just a couple of minutes, she turned it into a stylish pouch.
“We make everything here, we mainly use recycled reused reclaimed fabrics,” she explained.
Working in the back of her shop, customers of Sew Loka can peruse all while she’s designing, sewing, and trimming. They’re able to watch her in action.
And it all seems to come so naturally to Claudia. You could say it's in her blood.
Her dad was a denim distributor and her mom specialized more in the artistic intricate details in fashion.
So Claudia learned from both of them. When she was young, she would help her dad with his stacks and stacks of denim and she taught herself to sew to make outfits for her Barbies with help from her mom.
In fact, for her quinceanera, she requested an industrial-sized sewing machine.
As for sustainability, well that also was part of her upbringing. She grew up in a home with 6 siblings. They had to share and they would shop at thrift stores to save. Waste was practically forbidden.
Claudia said, “We want to make sure as a clothing brand we’re not creating more waste.” So she’s using all of those important messages instilled during her childhood now as mantras for her business.
Her upbringing is something she’s very proud of. Her Hispanic heritage is represented through her designs and bold messages.
“It’s about culture. Culture's really, really important,” she said.
We’ve profiled the rich culture of Barrio Logan many times where Mexican traditions are being represented and preserved by a myriad of artists.
So when it comes to looking for holiday gifts, the artists on Logan Avenue encourage you to come support them, helping local businesses that want to share their heritage with all of San Diego.
“My neighbors’ success is obviously my success, so if we all grow together, we all thrive together,” says Claudia.
She’s putting her community first while also trying to preserve the planet with every stitch and every style.
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