Student Offers Tailoring Services

Kuiper Mending clothes. Photo Credit to Milla Kuiper.

By: Aliah Fabros 

Thrift culture is alive and well at Point Loma Nazarene University. There are many ways the student body has made shopping secondhand an accessible and popular way to expand students’ wardrobes — from $3 clothing bins at the Flex Farmers Market to Instagram accounts like @Lomavintage that have raked in 1,034 followers. 

But what about the clothes you already have? 

You know, the ones piled up in the back corner of your closet. That wrinkled dress with a torn spaghetti strap, or the cardigan you would’ve worn today if it wasn’t for that missing tortoiseshell button, or those pants that fit so well except for all the denim pooling at your ankles? 

Milla Kuiper, a second-year writing major at PLNU, has started a tailoring business in her dorm to solve this very issue. The average cost for a seamstress to hem pants in San Diego ranges from $10-25. Formal dresses traditionally range anywhere from $30-120. 

Kuiper’s Instagram page @Iwillfixyourclothes states the cost of her alterations starts at $2. Her prices continue to fall on the cheapest end of the spectrum, charging $10 to hem pants and jeans, and $20 for prom and choir dresses. 

According to Kuiper, she was bored to death while studying abroad in Scotland due to a lack of art projects. All she had to pass the time was her little hand-sewing kit. Kuiper began offering to fix her classmates’ clothes for free and was surprised by how many people needed her services, she said. 

After realizing that there was a demand for tailoring offered at student-friendly prices, Kuiper launched @Iwillfixyourclothes. 

Marina Bogosian, a fourth-year business management major and Nease Residence Hall resident assistant, said she first heard about Kuiper’s business from her roommate who had seen @Iwillfixyourclothes pop up on her Instagram feed.

When Bogosian learned that Kuiper and her sewing machine just happened to live a few doors down, she immediately brought in a pair of jeans that needed to be hemmed five inches. Bogosian hopes these new affordable alterations will prevent her from buying more clothes, she said. 

The fast fashion industry thrives off the overconsumption and overproduction of clothing. From 1960 to 2018, the amount of textiles discarded to landfills in the United States rose from 1,710,000 tons to 11,300,000 tons. In 2023, 15% of the global textile waste was recycled. 

Kuiper said she gained a new appreciation for the labor that goes into the clothing industry after learning how to sew. 

“When I was a kid  I heard ‘factory-produced clothing’ and I thought it was a machine putting everything together,” said Kuiper. “But I think we’ve all seen videos of women at sweatshops, constantly sitting there. We’ve all heard the horror stories from SHEIN where if they mess something up it’s a dock off their pay. It takes a lot of work and physical hand-made labor is required to create even factory-made clothes.” 

For her Environment and People (BIO 1002) course last semester, Bogosian said she did a research report on the relationship between fast fashion and water pollution in Bangladesh. 

According to Bogosian, 85% of the money Bangladesh earns from exports has come from the fashion industry in the last few decades. She said the mass production of textiles has demolished their ecosystem by spiking water pollution, limiting access to clean drinking water and diminishing the fish population. 

“It really makes me uneasy and scared for the future,” said Bogosian. “But I do think there are a lot of things like Milla’s business, thrifting, upcycling, that’s starting to counteract that.” 

Though the community at PLNU has created a culture of sustainability practices, many of them still profit off of students constantly searching for new clothes to add to their closets. Alternatively, Kuiper’s business encourages students to invest in what they already have — a practice that directly combats the consumerist pressures of fast fashion. 

If you are interested in Milla Kuiper’s tailoring services you can DM her on Instagram @Iwillfixyourclothes.