In the age of fast fashion, we’ve become reliant on large companies for the ease and speed with which we can get products. But, by supporting small businesses you can find unique pieces that support creative and talented entrepreneurs. College Fashionista spoke with five inspiring small businesses owners regarding the foundation of their brands, their products, and more. If you’re still looking for holiday gifts that will wow anyone in your life, these beautiful pieces will do just that.
BINIBINI New York
BINIBINI New York was started by Coco and her sister Ely, who had an idea to make a compartment forward tote bag for “women going places”. BINIBINI is best known for their TOTE-ALL bag described to be the perfect essential for work or school.
“We want to highlight the million things women do,” Coco said. Whatever you may possibly need to put in your BINIBINI bag has you covered with a compartment for your shoes, laptop, umbrella, and keys. When Coco isn’t using her marketing background for BINIBINI, she is getting her bachelors in International Trade at the Fashion Institute of Technology, working at an ecommerce internship and doing her own content creation.
With BINIBINI New York, Coco and Ely have been able to grow their inventory and their relationship. Moving forward, they plan to continue expanding their designs, which will soon include prints inspired by their Filipino heritage. If you’re looking for a stylish, functional, and high quality bag, check out BINIBINI New York.
Sleepy Bunny Jewelry
Sleepy Bunny Jewelry was started by Avery Sky. Her jewelry resembles the soft girl aesthetic inspired by bunnies and uses pinks, pastels, and bows. All of her pieces are original and one of a kind as many of the items she sells are made from thrifted and recycled materials. When she’s not making cute jewelry, she’s roller skating, thrifting or upcycling clothing and stuffed animals.
Unlovely Magazine- Kristen Bongco
Unlovely Magazine was started by Kristen Bongco, inspired by her love of the 90s and early 2000s, and her artistic background, which she uses to create unique crochet pieces. She started crocheting in 2021 and in February 2022, her friend saw her crochet market bag and told her she should begin selling.
Because Kristen found crochet so therapeutic, Unlovely Magazine allowed her to continue to sustain her hobby. The name Unlovely Magazine came from the idea of simultaneously sounding feminine while rejecting traditional femininity and highlighting her love of magazine cutout art. Kristen doesn’t repeat any pieces and her crocheting is often spontaneous when it comes to color placement and details.
“I just like having fun with it and including little jokes or small things that are just kind of silly,” Kristen says. When Kristen isn’t crocheting, she’s a student at San Jose State majoring in Advertising and minoring in Graphic Design. She designs for Her Campus at SJSU, and works on creative projects, all while maintaining two jobs.
If you’re interested in her crochet pieces, check out her Instagram and Depop. She will be working on her Star Girl collection soon and plans to experiment with mixed media pieces. Be on the lookout for more content coming!
Lillian Jenae Designs
Lillian Jenae is a 21-year-old, Texas-based fashion designer and the owner of Lillian Jenae Designs, a made-to-order ready to wear womenswear brand.
“I focus on creating clothing to improve your mood and add long term and value to your wardrobe,” Lillian explains. All of her pieces balance whimsy and wearability, without sacrificing sustainability. Her brand debuted in September at New York Fashion Week, and recently wrapped a show during Austin Fashion Week.
Lillian learned how to sew at the age of nine, and from there, she been passionate about fashion through various school programs. When she’s not working on Lillian Jenae Designs, Lillian is a full time student at Texas Tech University, majoring in Apparel Design and Manufacturing. She also does freelance work as a content creator with CF and NARS, practices photography, and works as a social media manager for different brands.
In the future Lillian Jenae Designs plans to have two to three runway showcases per year, and to continue to make a push in sustainable and ethical fashion. To get one of Lillian’s designs, check out @lillianjenaedesigns on instagram, or order from her website.
Huet Swim was started by Marcella Huet and her family. Inspired by their home country Brazil, they make high quality, handmade swimwear that is designed to fit all curves.
“We believe everyone deserves a little luxury and these pieces are made to make you feel effortlessly confident and beautiful,” Marcella says. Her and her family started Huet Swim during the pandemic. When they were able to fly home, they met with local manufacturers and found locally sourced fabrics in their hometown.
When she’s not working with her family on Huet Swim, she is an online student at Florida International University. She has also worked with CF, and has been involved in campaigns with Her Campus and InfluenceHer Collective, while also pursuing her own content creation.
Future collections will continue to show the Huet’s inspiration from their culture, and expand to a wider range of styles and sizes. To get one of Huet Swim’s flattering swimsuits check out their website and Instagram, @huetswim.