LOLO – People in the United States throw away more than 60 million plastic water bottles every day, filling landfills and leaving a significant burden on the environment.
While the excess of non-biodegradable waste won’t be solved overnight, a resident of Lolo is looking for a solution in her own elegant way.
“I think it is only our responsibility to do business sustainably,” explained Lolo entrepreneur Mallory Ottariano.
Every clothing choice and business decision has been uniquely hers for nearly a decade and is one that is making its mark in today’s fashion industry.
Ottariano created his sustainable clothing brand nearly ten years ago and, with his passion for individuality, it only made sense to name the brand something completely unique, something like “Youer”.
“Yours is the ultimate expression of individuality,” Ottariano told MTN News, “More or less this idea of you-ER, being more yourself because no one is more you than you.”
To understand Youer, you need to know the woman behind the brand, and her story began long before the entrepreneurial title was added to the resume.
“I learned to sew as a child. My mother and grandmother sewed a lot growing up and style has always been my forte. I always wore very extravagant clothes, going out of my way to dress in something I didn’t see anywhere else. I hated the combination, so to achieve that personal style, I often created a lot of my own things “, – Mallory Ottariano
Mismatched and inspired, Ottariano’s love of clothing never faded, so after graduation, tucked away in a corner of her parents’ basement in Massachusetts, she made a life-changing purchase in the form of a $ 100 sewing machine from Ebay.
A move to Montana and many sewing bouts later, Ottariano now doesn’t match clothes for a living and its branding, Youer showcases whimsical designs with a wide range of colors. According to Ottariano, clothing is made for everyday adventure, whether it’s working, parenting, hiking or having a beer.
The Missoulians have been attached to clothing and the meaning behind it from the very beginning and now the brand is going well beyond 406. “I started going to art shows and doing temporary shops and selling in local stores and my websites have really taken off. In 2015 I quit my daily job, ”said Ottariano.
Sometimes it’s the Bitterroot River that inspires a pattern, or a ski slope that makes a color scheme sparkle. And as for the fabric, the inspiration comes from the landfill. Sifting through a shelf of colorful clothing, Ottariano took her best-selling dress, explaining that the piece is made from 30 bottles of water.
The water bottles are made into flakes, the flakes into pellets, the extruded pellets and stretched into a fine fiber which is knitted into fabric. The journey of a bottle of water to become a piece of clothing can be just as extraordinary as the journey of Ottariano to entrepreneurship.
“I just hope I can influence the change in enough people to make a difference,” said Ottariano.
From recycled fabric to plastic-free packaging, sustainability will always be at the forefront of fashion for Ottariano, even more so as he seeks to expand and move operations into a new clothing factory in western Montana – proof that sometimes the mismatch has perfectly sense .