A tale of two sewists
The shared passion of these two sewists lead to the creation of The Sewists Society. They both run no waste businesses, and were inspired to create a place that can be a final destination for fabric waste, while elevating the job of a sewist to that of any other trade. While also providing jobs, and creating a sustainable revenue stream for local craftspeople.
Meet ericka & Leigh Anne
Ericka Leigh is an artist, entrepreneur, and sustainability advocate. In 2018, she founded Sewn Apart, an environmentally and socially conscious fashion forward accessory company whose flagship product is a bowtie. The bowtie is in honor of her grandfather, and serves as a power accessory for women building confidence and charisma. Ericka became interested in fashion via the agriculture system, having worked in restaurants for some years. Her work consists of connecting the dots between art, the environment, and fashion using fabric as the medium. Ericka earned her Masters from the Patel College of Global Sustainability at the University of South Florida. She has worked on projects regarding food and the environment with the UNFAO, USF, Bern's Restaurant Group, as well as independent experiments regarding textile composting. She is a founding member of Fashion Revolution Tampa Bay, which educates the community about the social and environmental impacts of the fashion and textile industries. Ericka is a Tampa native with New York roots.
Leigh Anne Balzekas has a degree in Apparel Design from FSU. Through design school and working in the fashion industry in Chicago she learned a lot about the waste in the industry. She wanted to create a more sustainable clothing line that honored the earth, the workers that made it and the wearer. She started The Disco Dolls Studio, a collaborative & sustainable hair, fashion, art studio, and boutique in 2010. Her design studio is zero waste, and with the boutique aims to create a growing movement of careful consumerism. “If we are mindful, thoughtful and sustainably minded in our lives, then we will be creating a better world around us.” Leigh Anne brings over 15 years of experience to The Sewist Society with pattern making, running a retail business and creating a successful product line in zero waste studio.