Do you want to look good while doing good? Sophomore Kelly Ruane’s new clothing line, Peels Apparel, combines service and sustainability in fresh new streetwear.
Like many student businesses, Ruane started Peels during quarantine, as an effort to give back to the community during a difficult time while also combining her love of fashion with her interest in sustainability. Peels’ inaugural drop, the “Unraveled Collection,” features a black hoodie, t-shirt and bucket hat with the iconic orange peel design.
“With all this time during quarantine, I created Peels Apparel as a passion project that combines my interests while also giving back to the community,” Ruane explained. “The reason I wanted to start with ‘Unraveled’ is because it represents the deconstructed approach to how I’m incorporating giving back and living sustainably into fashion.”
Twenty percent of the proceeds from the collection go to Grateful Gatherings, a San Francisco Bay Area organization that helps furnish the homes of families transitioning out of homelessness or crisis. Ruane has worked closely with this organization in her hometown.
“I worked with the organization a lot when I was younger, helping to move families into their homes, and those were such great experiences for me,” Ruane said. “During the pandemic, they were only accepting monetary donations due to health reasons, but I still wanted to help them in any way that I could, so I brought the organization into the brand and what it’s all about.”
So far, the Unraveled Collection has already raised over $600 for Grateful Gatherings. For future drops, Ruane intends to extend her reach and help other organizations.
As a sustainability minor, Ruane wanted to ensure that her brand was good for the environment. To do so, Ruane focused on sustainable shipping.
“A lot of times people will ship biodegradable packaging, but the tape with the shipping label is not compostable,” she said. “I really made sure that for Peels the whole package is compostable, even down to the label, because I wanted our shipping to be 100% sustainable. I also wanted to pick high quality and long lasting clothing. I think having staple pieces in your wardrobe that you can continue to rewear is also a big part of sustainability in fashion.”
Overall, Ruane is happy with the experience she has gained creating, building, and maintaining a brand.
“I’ve learned how expressive fashion can be, even more than I thought before,” she said. “Creating Peels has also introduced me to different sides of fashion and how to balance the different roles with starting a brand. I have to think on the creative side while also balancing digital marketing and the financial aspect too.”
Ruane has already started working on a new collection. She has yet to reveal the new design, but she hopes to add sweats and beanies to the line. If you’re interested in checking out Peels Apparel and supporting a great cause, check out her website at www.peelsapparel.com or @peels_apparel on Instagram.