SU student sells handmade, recycled designs

SU student sells handmade, recycled designs

Sophomore Bella Borek's passion for sewing and fashion led to founding her own business this past summer.
Published: March 18, 2021 | Updated: March 25th, 2021 at 11:10 pm
Bella Borek poses in her handmade clothing
Bella Borek, a marketing sophomore at SU, founded Reworked Clothing this past summer.

The hustle of Syracuse University students does not stop once classes end and assignments are turned in 

Amid the global pandemic, marketing sophomore Bella Borek established herself as a young entrepreneur when she started her own clothing business last summer. Her business, Reworked Clothing (@rewerkdclothing), turns recycled materials into new clothes.  

Borek got the idea for starting her business from one of her oldest passions: sewing.

“I’ve always loved sewing,” Borek said. “I’ve always wanted to start a business around that.”  

Borek took her passion for sewing and the hot trend of “thrifting” — buying gently used clothes at flea markets and thrift shops — to create an original set of clothing rather than bringing home new items from stores.

Borek utilizes several materials to create her clothes. Different types of clothes require different types of fabrics, so her trips to the thrift store are specific depending on what she will be making.  

“Once I have an idea in my head, I try to find a fabric that will fit with that idea,” Borek said. “Sometimes I just like to go thrifting and look at the fabric and let that inspire me.”  

Bringing her ideas to fruition is a long, diligent process of sewing — one that Borek attributes to her being a “perfectionist.”  

The process is essentially a puzzle of clothes, Borek said, in the sense that she puts together different pieces that are already made as opposed to making the clothes from scratch.  

Borek’s passion for sewing goes back to when she was just a little girl at her grandmother’s house. Watching her grandmother — an accomplished seamstress — sew with fascination, Borek looked on with curiosity and was filled with a desire to learn.  

“When I was little, I would always draw out designs,” Borek said. “I always wanted her to teach me, and when she did teach me, I was able to teach myself the rest. And when I started making the clothes is when I knew I wanted to start my business.”  

Reworked Clothing
SU sophomore Bella Borek reworks old clothes into new outfit options.

Sewing since her sophomore year of high school, Borek also pulls from her background in art and passion for fashion during her work.

While a lot of her ideas come right out of her mind, her sketchbook that she started when she was young is filled with sketches of different clothing items.  

Using Depop, an online shopping platform, to reach a larger audience, Borek initially distributed her clothes to her friends.

Amy Liu, City College of San Francisco student, and Northwestern University student Sarika Rao have known Borek long before she started her business. The trio’s friendship goes back to their sixth-grade middle school days in Andover, Massachusetts. Borek’s grandmother even tailored Liu’s prom dress. 

“Bella was always into fashion, she was always ahead of the curve when it came to the latest trends,” Rao said. “I remember she came to school one day in bright, silver Doc Martin shoes and everyone instantly wanted a pair.” 

Borek’s sewing skills have led many of her friends to ask her to make them clothes of their own. 

“We’ve all been guilty of asking her to make us clothes,” Liu said. “During the beginning of the pandemic, I had asked Bella to make me a tank top out of Nike socks.” 

As her business grows today, Borek aspires to add some SU school spirit to her fashion arsenal.  

“I definitely want to add some Syracuse pieces,” she said. “It would be really cool to incorporate some Syracuse options and have students represent our school with my clothes.”   

Avatar for Dominick Pfisterer

is a magazine, news and online graduate student and contributing writer for The NewsHouse.