Bowties made in Ybor City honor family and the environment

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What Ericka Leigh creates with her two hands and a sewing machine is a small but strong fashion statement: Bowties.

"Bowties have been predominantly in men's accessories and so I love to see more women wearing bowties and menswear in general," Leigh explained. "I make most of my bowties reversible so you get two in one and you can wear them anywhere."

It's a nod to an important man in her life, her grandfather.

"He wore bowties forever. For his funeral, my aunt wanted everyone to wear bowties so I made a few for my cousins and I to wear," she said. "So I was making them and giving them to friends and family for free and then someone leaned over to me and said, 'You know, you can sell these."

So she started her company, Sewn Apart.

"Going through difficult times in my life and coming apart myself and using art as an avenue of self-healing," said Leigh.

She combines fashion with sustainability.

"Americans on average waste 82 pounds of clothes a year. Over 2 million loads of laundry that are going into a landfill which is crazy to me," said Leigh.

Her material is old clothes and fabrics. Many are donated. Her global awareness is getting noticed far and wide.

"I had an order from Australia, that's probably the farthest, but it's really far," said Leigh.

It ties together her passion and purpose.

"[I want to] bring more awareness of a very serious issue but in a fun and tangible and very digestible way," said Leigh.

For more information on Sewn Apart, visit https://www.sewnapart.com/ .