It was not that long ago that Kristin Keen got the call from Southwest Airlines® asking for a partnership that would reach a national audience. Her initial and ecstatic “Yes!!!” has opened the door for even more opportunities. Through this partnership we have embarked on our biggest journey yet as a company, and we cannot wait to share it with you:
For those who do not know; briefly describe what this new launch is?
Rethreaded is continuing its partnership with Southwest Airlines® by producing a line of leather accessories made from upcycled airline seat covers inspired by the winning design seen on the fan-favorite Unconventional Materials episode of Project Runway All Stars, Season 7. Designers were tasked with creating a look for modern day air travel from provided materials and crafting a leather accessory out of upcycled Southwest aircraft seat covers in less than 24 hours. Episode winner Irina Shabayeva consulted the women of Rethreaded on the production of the new accessory line, which includes a leather clutch purse and leather ID and card holder.
What makes you most excited about the launch with SW and PRAS?
I have a confession to make, I love Project Runway. I love Project Runway All Stars. I have seen every episode! When I got the phone call that we could be part of Project Runway All Stars a year ago I am pretty sure I jumped up out of my seat and danced around! When Rethreaded first started in 2012, we dreamed of being on an episode of Project Runway and one of our board members actually emailed the show to make the case. It is pretty amazing to see a dream come true.
Can you talk me through the process of upcycling the donated airline seat covers from Southwest?
Over a year ago Southwest shipped over 27 pallets (that is the size of a shipping container!) to Rethreaded. Each pallet is filled with leather airline seats. First, the team removed all the cushions and deconstruct the leather into individual pieces. We then washed the leather and hung it up to dry. Next, we dye the leather and then hand or machine cut the leather into the shape of whatever product it will become. We then sew the final product together, inventory it, package, market it and it’s ready to be sold in our store or online at rethreaded.com.
What does this partnership mean for the ladies at Rethreaded?
I talked with quite a few of our employees to find out what this partnership with Southwest means to them. Overwhelmingly, our employees are so thankful for the new skills they have learned by working with the leather and having the opportunity to be a part of something so amazing like creating and designing new products. Everyone is so proud to be associated with a fortune 500 company like Southwest that is using their business to do good.
What has been the greatest reward to already come out of this partnership with SW?
I have to admit that having the faith of a large fortune 500 corporation means a lot for a small but mighty social entrepreneurship in Jacksonville, Florida. We are excited that through our partnership we are able to highlight Jacksonville, The Rail Yard district, and the work of Rethreaded. Most importantly, this partnership has given us the push and growth of our company that can allow us to affect the lives of more women. We have been able to purchase new machinery, learn a whole new skill set, and be a part of something bigger than we could of ever dreamed.
How can supporters of Rethreaded best help the business grow through this opportunity?
Supporters of Rethreaded can help the business grow through this opportunity in many ways. The first is….buy the product! We don’t have to tell you because once you see it you will fall in love with our new handbags and matching travel accessories. Our new line line of purses and travel accessories are high quality and Rethreaded will be the only place in the world where you can purchase these products. When you purchase Rethreaded products you are an advocate for the women that Rethreaded works with and you become a part of the story of hope and redemption.
We also need our supporters to share our products and story on social media. Social media is the driver of the Southwest and Project Runway campaign. We need our advocate to like, comment, share and use the hashtags! We need to spread this message of hope far and wide!
Are you as excited as we are? Let us know! Share your love for Rethreaded through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. News this good needs to be shouted from the mountain tops, thank you for climbing to new heights with us! #Rethreadyourlife