Small Business Highlight: Ita Collective

We’re interviewing another one of our favorite Greensboro businesses today! Ita Collective is an artful girl’s clothing company created by my friend, Sydney. Her commitment to ethical, creative, and empowering designs is inspiring!

Sydney, thanks so much for taking the time to tell us about Ita Collective! First, please introduce yourself to those who may not know you.

My name is  Sydney  Wittman, mama, sister, and daughter. I am a lover of people, arts and culture, and it is in the connecting of these entities that I feel most alive.  Whether bridging the language gap between people and culture while translating, learning about the stories that God weaves together to form an individual, welcoming the outsider, sewing, embroidering, songwriting, running, playing the Cajon or my favorite four chords loudly on the piano–there is no mistaking that these are the things that stir my soul and lift my eyes to my God the Ultimate Creator and Inspirer.
North Carolina Small Business: Ita Collective | Greensboro, NC

How long have you been in business and how did you start making kids clothing?

This past November we debuted the first line of intentionally made, artful, heirloom girls clothing at Ita Collective.  As a child, dresses were a key part of playtime for my sisters and me.  A calico shift transported us to the covered wagon cross country trek of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Sequined flouncy ball gowns made us into princesses in distant lands.

I can remember lying down with my eyes closed dreaming up ideas for new dresses. I would hurry to sketch them and describe them to my sweet mama who would in turn take me to pick out the pattern and fabrics to match.

After my first child was born I needed a creative outlet and spent any free time I could find sewing burp cloths, clothes, and stuffed animals. As Easter approached I searched for an heirloom style dress with subtle tones and that was simple yet sturdy. When I couldn’t find a dress to match my criteria I decided to sew a dress and bloomer set complete with freehand embroidery. I had been looking for a creative niche and after sewing this Easter set I decided to look into making and selling similar dresses! I applied myself to researching the children’s clothing industry and production process. I returned to my childhood love of sketching dresses and worked with a lovely friend who became my patternmaker and made those sketches come to life.

Ita Collective: artful girl's clothing | McAlister-Leftwich House in Greensboro, NC

 

Around the same time, I attended a informational class at our local World Relief Office and learned about the process refugees must endure to enter and re-establish their lives here in the US.  As a young mother I could not imagine the thought of my family enduring the grief of leaving our home country and re-establishing our lives and routines in a completely new land. Soon after I attended the class, The Lord brought the pieces of Ita Collective together: I would seek to employ local refugee women in hopes of providing a creative outlet for them and a bit of extra income to aid in their transition. I would also weave bits of the lives of these courageous women into the fiber of the company, and pass their stories along as part of the heirloom nature of the dresses themselves.

 

 

What’s your favorite part of your process?
A hopeless creative, I love the adrenaline of a raw brainstorming and seeking inspiration. As Ita Collective grows I envision myself taking on the role of art director, casting the vision for clothing and embroidery design. I love envisioning dresses and working through color palettes and embroidery templates. I draw much of my inspiration from flowering plants and vintage floral patterns. I latched onto the bit of plant biology I took in middle school and love watching the flowering process from bud to full bloom. I am always drawn to the outdoors and find at least a few minutes to inspect my own plants. The textures and color gradients displayed in veining, the pollen to petal color contrasts, and the ever-changing color gradient of the petals of a young blossom inspire my sketches and embroidery templates.  I love how science mingles freely with art and this combination is readily available in each and every blossom. I also take great joy in pulling these elements into a cohesive color story for each line.

 

Be sure to follow Sydney and her journey for upcoming product launches on Instagram and her website!

Photography by Jenna Jordan

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