Nike. Gap. Old Navy. We’re all familiar with these popular stores and brands. But are we just as familiar with the eco-detrimental environments and fabrics in which they mass produce their products?
Luckily for Chattanooga, Sweet Cycle Apparel provides the rare local opportunity for women to fill their closets with unique, timelessly fashionable and eco-friendly clothing from an independent retailer.
South Carolina natives and founders Annie Oxenfeld and Christine Doyle backpacked across Europe, staying in hostels where they witnessed shoppers tossing out perfectly good clothes they couldn’t cram in their suitcases. Returning to the states, these two charismatic Southerners settled in Portland, Ore., where they began a unique partnership.
Combining their creative energy, Oxenfeld and Doyle began buying “seconds” from fabric distributors, cloth that would have otherwise been tossed out due to minor pattern flaws, and began hand sewing their most popular product to date—the “cafe” dress.
Making a small name for themselves, the duo took their pieces to cities across the U.S., settling in Chattanooga a year ago. A great fit for Sweet Cycle, the clothing caters well to a city that is becoming more “young and progressive.”
“Our first season in Chattanooga has been Sweet Cycle’s best season yet,” Doyle said of their cross-country move. “Chattanooga is an awesome place to launch a small business,”
Sweet Cycle has since worked with Chatty Crafty to showcase some of their one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted garments. Oxenfeld’s main focus is designing shorts, while Dolye targets dresses, and both put a great deal of planning into each piece and bounce their creative talents to successfully hand-produce each item differently.
Slip in to one of Sweet Cycle’s casual, signature hooded and pocketed dresses and stroll through the Chattanooga Market— you won’t run into anyone with the same dress. All garments are made from 99 percent recycled material (minus the necessary zipper here and there) and are so expertly crafted that one would never know each unique piece is made from anything from vintage and recycled fabrics to sheets.
Sweet Cycle will debut at more shows and collaborations in 2013, offering new, experimental design. Try on the eco-friendly fashion at Leo’s Gallery & Boutique on the North Shore, O.C. Buckles & Co at their new pop-up shop on Chestnut Street or stop by their own store at 1815 Bailey Avenue.
Say hello to Roxy, the shop dog, and chat with Annie and Christine about designing one of these comfortable, eco-friendly pieces of art that can be tailored to fit both your style and your curves. Dresses range from $75-85 and shorts from $62.
Sweet Cycle Apparel • 1815 Bailey Ave. • sweetcycleapparel.com