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The Best New Shirt is an Old Beloved Shirt

Women With a (Re)Purpose: This Loveland-based woman is making old clothing into ponchos, t-shirts and more


A Loveland-based yoga instructor, Jennifer Basch started repurposing old clothing into new in 2015. She made a poncho for herself, wore it to a yoga festival, and people started asking where she bought it. "One thing led to another, and it led to this great business," says Basch, who now sells her products on Etsy as well as a few local retailers and farmers markets.

Customers often give her beloved T-shirts from breweries and sports teams to repurpose into skirts. Basch once crafted a scarf from 30 ties a customer inherited from her late father. "A piece of him lives on in that scarf," she says.

She notes that the mass-produced clothing industry is chock full of waste, starting with water for crops and continuing through the sewing process all the way into overstock at retail.

Her method: "I just go through the thrift store. I look for color, pattern, texture, design."

Attitudes are changing, Basch notes, as repurposing offers a vehicle to spread the word about waste and sustainability via unique and creative products. "In the four years I've done it, I've realized people are starting to get it when they shop," she says. "I hear people talking about fast fashion now. I know people are hearing the story and understanding it matters where you shop.”

This article is part of a series called Women With a (Re)Purpose, which covers the enterprising women in Colorado that are transforming the waste stream into a supply chain for a wide range of products, while reshaping public perception in the process. 

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Eric Peterson

Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com

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