SuperLuckyCat - A Recycled One-of-a-Kind Clothing Label

Ecological style, better known as eco-chic, has been fast and furiously hitting the pavement this season. From the spring 2009 Heatherette line to retail store Anthropologie, eco-fashion can be found in every nook and cranny across coasts. If you think back, let's say, 10 years ago, no tarot card, crystal ball, or star positioning could have predicted the eco fashion craze we see today. Unless that is, you're L.A. based SuperLuckyCat Designer and Co-Founder, Crystal Butler.

In 2000, Butler decided to turn a hobby into a full-fledged business. Butler, a thrift store fanatic, spent her college years at the Fashion Institute of Technology turning thrift store finds into fine threads. After years of working within the many facets of the retail world, Butler decided to return to her roots by exclusively devoting her energy towards transforming the past into the future. She is turning vintage clothing into new-fangled, contemporary, one-of-a-kind designs. That's right, one-of-a-kind! You will never find two SuperLuckyCat pieces alike. Butler, and co-founder Michael Baffico, are dancing at the cusp of innovation and doing well at it.

Grooveeffect recently caught up with SuperLuckyCat designer Crystal Butler to get inside the head of an eco-chic mastermind:

First off, how did you come up with the name "SuperLuckyCat" and what does it mean to you?
Our company is in a live-work artist's space near Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. When we first started talking about getting our business going, we spent a lot of time eating out in the area. There are lucky cats all over Little Tokyo, and one night when we were trying to come up with a name my partner looked over at one and said "SuperLuckyCat". So that was that!

The cat beckons customers to come into shops, which can't hurt for a fledgling clothing company.

You worked in retail as a buyer before creating SuperLuckyCat. How has your experience in the retail industry helped you as a designer?

Working in the retail end of the industry is an invaluable reality check. I learned how to weigh customer needs against what I want to design.

What made you decide to leave the administrative side of retail for the creative/design side?

Design has always been my first love. I went back to it once I had enough experience in other aspects of the industry to feel confident starting my own business.
Why recycled material as opposed to new?
At heart I'm a hoarder who just can't bear to see anything with a useful life left in it go into the garbage! I also enjoy the challenge of engineering ways to work with the materials.

What is your design philosophy?

From a design perspective, I like the idea of individualism. People all have their own quirks; so do our clothes. Design differs from art in that the end product has to be functional as well as (if it's done right) aesthetically pleasing. Good design can bring pleasure by enhancing the everyday objects we have to interact with. Clothing is something we use more or less all day, so making a garment that can bring a little joy to put on is one way to make the world a little bit nicer place.

Where do you find your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from past and current fashion, as well as the recycled materials themselves.

Are you trying to be completely innovative with every piece? Or do you play off of current trends and fashions?

Since our clothes are a little unusual to begin with due to their components, we try to come up with designs reflect current fashion to some degree. The recycled materials always give them their own look.

Who is your favorite designer?

That's a tough question! As a designer and business owner, I'd have to pick Betsy Johnson. She's remained true to herself, been commercially successful, and looks like she's always having a good time doing it.

Where do you see SuperLuckyCat in the future?
We're hoping to expand the materials we recycle by possibly going into categories besides clothing or working in new fabric made from recycled fibers.

What are you obsessed with right now?
Finding the perfect pair of brightly colored jeans.

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