CLEVELAND — Tyra Sledge is a designer, seamstress and stylist with a unique approach to fashion.
"I've been thrifting and selling vintage for the past 10 years. And it gives me a chance to help other people to show them that you don't have to follow a trend is basically how you get up and feel," she explained in a recent interview with 3News Contributor Chris Webb.
Sledge's company, 6th Street Vintage has been featured in ads for the Cleveland Museum of Art and has even been worn by Hollywood actress Vivica A. Fox - but Tyra's talent and her inspiration, both draw from Cleveland roots.
"I grew up on 146th and Kinsman, and my grandmother, my aunt, my mother still lived there," Sledge said. "I named it 6th street because it's just something that's been a part of my life for a really long time."
The idea to turn her love of fashion into a business began when in 2009, Sledge moved back home to Northeast Ohio from Florida.
"I didn't have enough money to bring all of my clothes back home. So I had to start going to the thrift store," she recalled. "It initially started out as just my personal wardrobe. I had collected over like a thousand pieces of clothing, but I would look for pieces for other people. When I went to the store or I would offer my style and services."
Sledge says the sustainable aspect of vintage and thrift shopping is one of her biggest motivations.
"I have taken to upcycling [clothing] and have really been enjoying it because normally I would take something and use a piece of it and throw it away.... [you can still] be an individual and stand out and be stylish, take something you already have in your closet and cut it up. And you've given it more light. And I have found a lot of joy in doing that."
And the practice of up cycling not only helps creativity. It also helps our environment.
"I think that, uh, sustainability and fashion is something that a lot of people are becoming more aware of. But I think that a lot of people are just becoming aware of the fact that we are depleting our resources, even though we may not seem like we're big enough to make an impact, the damage that is doing just to our environment. There's so many amazing pieces that are just being trashed, just because they're older."
Through her large social media following and regular shopping events in Northeast Ohio, Tyra is hoping to continue to spread the message that sustainable shopping can also be stylish.
"It just amazes people that the items we're not, you know, bought in the store, you know, yesterday or something. That's what I like about what I do. It's very hard for me to go into a shopping mall. Now I feel completely lost."
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