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Making upcycling fashionable

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Lauren Wittman (centre) her cousin Zoee (left) and sister Jenna show off some of the jewelry they’ve made reusing old film negatives, plastic milk jugs, and Scrabble game tiles they say would otherwise end up in the garbage.

MATT PREPROST Enlarge Image

Lauren Wittman (centre) her cousin Zoee (left) and sister Jenna show off some of the jewelry they’ve made reusing old film negatives, plastic milk jugs, and Scrabble game tiles they say would otherwise end up in the garbage. Photo Store

One woman’s junk is another’s jewelry.

That’s the idea behind Riley Grae, an upstart "upcycled" fashion accessory line a trio of north Winnipeg teenagers are starting to spread across town.

"I go to lots of garage sales and thrift stores with my grandma and we always see brand-new games people are selling again," said Lauren Wittman, the 15-year-old Meadows West resident who started the line.

"It’s easy enough to turn those things into other things. It seemed if someone’s not going to buy it, it’s a waste."

West has been making the jewelry since last August, using some birthday money to buy the supplies she needed to get started.

Recruiting her younger sister, Jenna, and cousin, Zoee, the three spend their time perusing for junk — old game pieces, keyboard keys, buttons, and fabric scraps.

Old paint chips? Film negatives? Plastic milk jugs? Perfect for shaping into unique earrings, said Wittman. Scrabble tiles? Material for a pendant necklace. Unused felt? A case for a pair of glasses.

"I always loved crafting and art and being environmentally conscious, but I wanted to try to make something for myself," said Wittman.

On Sat., Aug. 24, they’ll be at the West Kildonan Community Farmers’ Market in the Scoops parking lot at Main and Jefferson.

For more, check out http://rileygrae.webs.com

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