Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

Recycled by Hyena: Fab clothing & accessories! July 2, 2009

Submitted by Marjorie Cunningham, owner of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry and manager of the Reclaimed to Fame Market.

For fabulously unique recycled clothing, look no further than Hyena at 1000 Markets!  She carries recycled clothing, bags and accessories and is a valued member of the Reclaimed to Fame Market.  She’s kindly taken the time to give us an exclusive interview.

Q. Where did the name of your business, Recycled by Hyena, come from?

A. When I was 16, Hyena was my nickname, inspired from Siouxsie album’s Hyaena.  It was a perfect animal in my mind to be associated with an recycling business. Hyenas are scavangers therefore natural recyclers, recycling and eating what other animals have left over.

Q. I noticed the following slogan in your 1000 Markets shop: “Handmadeness is an antidepressant”. In what ways do you find this to be true?

A. Designing and making things all by yourself not only gives you a deep and satisfying feeling of accomplishment but it also allows you to focus your mind on something “neutral”. This is for me the best antidepressant, without even speaking of all the great aspects of recycling.

Q. How long have you been designing recycled products and when did you actually decide to start selling them? Have you had any formal training?

A. I have a master in visual arts and I am a photographer. Even though I always had interest for fashion and costume history, I never planned in becoming a clothing designer or a seamtress.

When I arrived in USA in 2002, I was totally broke. I also had trouble finding clothing my size. So I bought a sewing machine and started to teach myself how to sew. It quickly became a passion.

After awhile, I felt like trying and selling my designs. It was in 2005 and I sold right away. It was a great encouragement and I haven’t stopped since.

Q. What inspires you to create? Do you have any role models in the fashion field?

A. I don’t really have role models. I am mainly inspired by strong personalities and clever people. In the fashion world, my favorite designers are French or Japanese. On top of my head, I could say: Marc Le Bihan, Marithée+François Girbaud and Yohji Yamamoto.

As for my inspiration, it really comes from a lot of things: the complexity of nature, the incredible array of colors, history or literature.

Q. What advice can you give to aspiring designers just starting out in business?

A. Follow your heart. Work hard. Be a perfectionist.

Q. In what ways do you recycle in other areas of your life?

A. I use recycled paper for almost everything and natural products in the house. I buy mostly second hand products. Mainly my ethic is to use products and items that can go back in the cycle without too much processing or that can go directly into nature without harming it in any way. It requires research and knowledge but there are more and more good website and guides out there.

Q. What do you like about being a merchant at 1000 Markets?

A. I still have to sell something there, but I really like the clear cut design of the whole site, the easy way to list, the market system.

Q. Do you sell anywhere else?

A. I sell on my own website and on etsy, dawanda and Smashing Darling.

Q. Where do you see “Recycled by Hyena” five years from now?

A. It is growing slowly and I like it like that. I really enjoy what I do, each moment and step of it, even when I complain!

I wouldn’t want to have to compromise any step of my creation to a fast and maybe short lived success.

I love what I do because it is fitting my way of life and it is a good answer to my desire to respect the earth and the environment. I want to keep that authenticity.