Ok let’s be real, upcycling has always been cool. But to the uninitiated, it can seem a little odd; in some minds upcycled makes them think of amateur craft jobs with awkward cuts, weird patchwork and clashing prints to match. All power to you if this is your aesthetic, but I think some people get turned off the idea of upcycled before they even realise what it really can be.

But when it comes to neo • thread, there’s no questioning their cool kid status.

neo • thread’s founder, Sarah, started her business in her broke student days; searching local thrift stores for clothes to modify into unique pieces. Surprised by the number of compliments she received, Sarah realised the best way to start was to simply dive in. In true DIY style she originally sold clothes through Instagram comments (this was in the pre-DM days), then moving to Etsy. After graduating college in 2015 she stopped for a while due to getting a ‘grown up job’ but, with passion still pulling, started back up at the end of 2016. After getting her girl boss on and working hard, Sarah was able to leave her job and go full time time with neo • thread in February.

neo • thread’s idea is that each piece is not old, not new. Clothing isn’t restored to its former glory, instead it becomes something new and unique, in turn aiming to empower and inspire women (or neo • t girls as Sarah likes to call them) to express their individuality whilst making decisions that support ethical production and reduce waste. A pretty killer combo, in my opinion. neo • t girls believe in personal style over high-end fashion, instead being totally unaffected by fashion trends or who the ‘in brand’ is. They’re girls who advocate for the planet and for people, not just talking about it but putting their money where their mouth is.

Just as the path to being cool isn’t to fit yourself into a box, but simply to be authentically and confidently yourself, each neo • thread item is totally fresh, fun and one of a kind without having to try. I think what makes neo • thread stand out so well is its wonderfully quirky, irreverent sense of humour. Alongside statement pieces with beautiful cuts and wardrobe staples like denim shorts are tongue-in-cheek tees to fall in love with. Adorned with slogans like ‘cool mom’ (a Mean Girls classic), ‘product of documentaries’ or the shrugging emblem of internet sarcasm ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ it’s hard not to find something that will make you giggle. Long gone are the days of meaningless slogans on t-shirts, replaced by the chance to show some butt-kicking personality instead.

It was this reason that made me decide to get the chiller than thou tee, which is hand sewn by Sarah herself. I know this design has proved popular online, but I particularly love it because it’s a solid reminder to myself (and others around me) to chill sometimes. I feel like my life varies in cycles of ‘Fran, get your sh*t together’ and ‘wow I am so on top of things right now’; I like this tee because it reminds me to just find a bit more balance.

I know that’s super deep for a t-shirt, but as a person with a naturally high capacity for doing loads, and often ending up doing too much, it’s a really handy reminder to slow down, freakin’ breathe once in a while and go outside (which I clearly did here. I live near a golf course now so I went for a run around to take these photos, luckily no golfers minded!). On top of that it fits really nicely, the fabric is good quality and I really like the cut. It has raw edges at the bottom, and I like how it curls up a little, but it also makes this tee super easy to tuck into things too. Win win.

Make sure to check out neo • thread’s online store here to see what other cool and clever items you can find. And remember, stay chill.

Until next time, stay magic y’all.

Photos by the amazing Gianna Scavo.

Post created in collaboration with neo • thread