As society’s timeless interest in fashion and style continues to expand and evolve, so does its relationship with the environment. While the world’s ever-increasing interest in personal style is definitely a pro when it comes to the development of culture and arts, it has also come with an increased level of consumption and waste that puts our environment at risk. Hannah Savage, the owner of Indianapolis-based fashion retailer Cleo’s, seeks to reduce environmental damages while sharing their love of fashion.
Cleo’s, which was founded in February of 2023, is a 90s and Y2K vintage and secondhand retail company. They were founded by Purdue University student Hannah Savage as a way to combine their affinity for fashion with their goal of protecting the Earth. Textile waste is a massive problem that continues to intensify—as of 2018, over 11,000 tons of clothing were landfilled. This number has only increased in the following years. By selling hand-sourced vintage and thrifted clothing, Savage is able to reduce harmful textile waste while also tailoring their brand to reflect their personal style.
Running a business retailing personally selected secondhand pieces certainly requires that the owner possesses an eye for style and trends. Savage has built their company’s identity around their own interpretation of what fashion can—and should—be. They gather inspiration from an eclectic variety of sources, ranging from the styles of 2000s celebrities to the music of artists such as Tyler the Creator and Bring Me the Horizon. Savage states that when choosing outfits, they “fully embrace a character.” Their personal style is representative of how they’re feeling on that particular day and what aspects of themselves they’re choosing to represent—even down to the music they want to listen to that day. Savage wants Cleo’s to be a shop that encourages others to do the same, allowing customers to express every side of themselves by providing them with a vast array of unique textiles.
This up-and-coming business is still developing, but Savage is motivated to continue growing. They are inspired by the growth they see and feel it is rewarding to see the progression in their business. Although currently operating exclusively online, owner Hannah Savage intends to participate in pop-up shops in Indianapolis and across Indiana as a whole. They also plan to sell their products at Purdue University’s farmer’s market this coming fall. In addition, they strive to have their own website with international shipping capabilities by the end of 2023. This is one Indiana-based company to keep an eye on—with a motivated young owner and a powerful mission, their growth is nothing short of guaranteed.