Thursday, October 10, 2013

Artist/Vendor Profile: Little Did You Know

Andrea of
Little Did You Know
This is the first in a series of vendor/artist profiles that I plan to do. Many of the artists that will be featured in the next few months will also be vendors at Check 'Em Off, Green. Unfortunately, our first artist will not be vending, as she lives on the other side of the continent, but I'm super excited to bring you her story.

I kept linking to Andrea's posts on my Facebook page and I finally realized last weekend that I should probably just reach out to her and say hi, at least. (To be honest, I was getting a little creepy...) I asked her if she'd be interested in being featured on my blog and she said yes! I'm so pleased for you to read a little more about her and what makes her tick.

Name: Andrea Torres-Cooper
Company/persona name: LittleDidYouKnow Facebook
Location: New Jersey, USA

Your products/projects:

The girl really likes her silk!

I mostly refashion thrift store clothing into modern items that fit my style and my body to a T. I'd love for this hobby to turn into a job, but for now it provides me the chance to learn and grow as a sewist. I find my materials at thrift stores, yard sales, consignment shops, and other people's trash...and the bigger the item the better, as they afford the most yardage. My favorite material to find and refashion is silk: I love the luxury of the fabric and the drape is everything, and this way I can afford it! 

I started out on very simple changes (cutting off the top of a dress to make it a skirt and simply hemming the raw edge) and have slowly graduated up to making things from scratch from thrifted fabrics as well. I made my nephew a Halloween costume of the Flash (including muscles) for his birthday last year and that was, for me, a big undertaking as it was from scratch.

Versatile and feminine!

One of my favorite "from scratch" projects is a lace mini skirt that zips up the back and can be worn over different colored opaque slips or minis to change up the look. I have definitely had my share of failures where something doesn't quite come out how I'd pictured it, but these are rarely complete failures. They simply go back into the pile until I come up with a way to rework them into something that I love! One such failure turned out to be really pretty and feminine...but it doesn't fit and making it fit would change the look of the piece completely. So, I admire it as it hangs on my wall waiting for the moment when I work up the courage to "fix" it.

Green "Cred"
Creative reuse, Handmade, Recycled content product, Refashioned, Reused materials, Locally sourced materials

Why is "green" important to you?
Sustainability is more important than most realize. I think many people have
the idea that they should recycle their papers, plastics, glass and metals, but is that really enough? Not really. I think that everyone has the ability to make changes towards sustainability that are just as effortless as recycling is, but once added up are infinitely more impactful. Within my home we take it a step at a time. I am a great advocate for implementing one change at a time into one's lifestyle to ensure that new habits are formed and cemented into everyday life. Sustainability is also super thrifty (in my own experience), which is an amazing bonus! 
Some of our changes came into place when we moved to the east coast: we sold our cars and have lived without them for 5 years, we bike and walk wherever we need to go and my husband commutes by bus to the city, in all of our apartments offering outdoor space we grew our own herbs and vegetables, most of our smaller furniture and appliances and clothes are second hand. This is just a handful of the changes we've made and the list for what we can do just goes on and on. So, take it slow, but make the changes that you can!

Your origin story?
Update some wedges with a little paint!
I have been an avid thrifter for several years, but was always limited to what was in style and that fit and was in reasonably good shape. I started seeing blogs a couple of years back that joined the love of thrifting with the ability to sew and change up an item of clothing into something completely new! I spent days just pouring over the befores and afters and was completely hooked. I had started sewing a year prior and had made some cushion covers, stockings, etc, and thought that I could absolutely try my hand at refashioning some of my old clothing that was sitting around waiting to be donated. So, I took the plunge and haven't looked back!
I love this one. From "meh" to chic-just remove the collar!

Your inspiration?

Pinterest idea: Pool noodles to keep
leather boots from slouching.
I would say that my biggest source of inspiration has been all of the contributors over at Refashion Co-op. I am constantly surprised by the visions that these creative people have for an item of clothing that was on its way to a landfill. They are so talented!
I also draw inspiration from Pinterest :) Whether it be items of clothing that are brand new/retail or other's refashions that they've posted, I have several boards just for refashion ideas, things to try, style inspirations and specific items to look for at the thrift store. I rarely have a vision of what I'd like to do that doesn't borrow from one or many other ideas that I've seen while surfing the web.

Your heroes?
My husband is someone I look up to for his work ethic. He comes from even humbler beginnings than my own and has worked incredibly hard to get his PhD and become a professor. He is incredibly encouraging as well, which makes the transformations of my thrifted finds a little more exciting to show him as he is always surprised that I was able to transform what he saw as "ugly" into something he likes. :) 

grandma's thread spools

My grandmother is another person who I see as a hero. She introduced me to a broader world view which helped to feed my desire to learn: I was inspired to travel and see the other peoples and cultures that she introduced me to and she sewed and knitted as well, a hobby she passed on to me.

Favorite celebrities?
I would say that I generally would love to have the refashioning/reusing community at large be a party to my creations. I have found that my inspiration comes from them and I'd love for "them" to see what they've inspired. Jillian, the Refashionista, was the first refashioner I was introduced to (through her blog, not in person), and Miranda from NewDressADay is another that have been major influences, so specifically it'd be cool to have them as fans as well ;)

Anything else?
Sharpie can be chic? Yep!
Just want to say thanks. Simply put, I appreciate the chance to share a small part of my story and to contribute in some way to introducing people to sustainable ideas that are more a hobby than a chore. 

When I started to write up this profile, I began to wonder about "Little Did You Know," so I asked Andrea and this was her reply:

I am and always have been an avid reader (hence "bookworm" in my email). Since I can remember I've been reading the classics and mysteries; they are my two literary genre loves. It has always fascinated me how drawn in I can become by the arrangement of words to produce fantastical, funny, harrowing, twisted, and just plain good stories. When I was trying to come up with a "title" or "name" for my page I wanted to marry my love of literature with my new love of refashioning. My husband and I threw a few ideas back and forth until eventually we came up with "little did you know". Little did you can change the entire outcome of a book! Four words of foreshadowing that can turn your world upside down and leave you with the most unexpected outcome. This is how I felt as I'd perused the blogs full of before and after shots of amazing transformations...little did I know that someone could do that with that hideous garment :-0 As I started my own transformations, I had the same reaction when previously "unwearable" items became "fashionable" again. For me, it just made sense...and hopefully it does to you!

I'm glad to know the back story. I think I will find myself thinking "Little did you know..." when looking at various refashions, now. I think Jillian was one of my first Refashionistas, too. Refashion Co-op is incredibly inspiring and I can't believe I wasn't following Andrea on Pinterest, yet (remedied that about 10 minutes ago...)

I hope you enjoyed this first artist profile. More to come! 

-The Reuser


  1. I love it!!! Of course, it's about me so that seems obvious ;) but in all seriousness, I am humbled and honored to be featured. I thank you again!

    1. Andrea,

      It was a ton of fun to do this. I'm looking forward to more and I had a blast going through your pics, picking out what I wanted to use for this post. You have so many awesome projects, it made it hard to pick, truthfully!

  2. It is not surprising to me that two Bowerbirds have nested together to create an inspirational blog article. Thank you Terra for interviewing Andrea because 'little did I know' some of the things she has generously shared with you and the world. Inspirational +++ I will share this interview on my Facebook group Melton Bowerbirds a group of avid upcyclers, including refashionistas and thrifty living folk.

    1. I'm glad to be included in the Bowerbird group and glad to have you over here, enjoying the post! Aren't Andrea's projects inspiring?


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