Tigerlily "t-skirts" fit the bill for cool, upcycled fashion
Hollie May-Ipsarides isn't cut from the same cloth – so to speak – as a lot of other folks.
"I like to do things uniquely. I always have, whether it's my house or my hair – I have always been different," says May-Ipsarides.
Case in point: a year and a half ago, lacking a sewing background of any kind, she decided she was going to construct skirts out of T-shirts. Without consulting patterns or You Tube, she created her first "t-skirt" made primarily from one of her husbands' outgrown Harley-Davidson T-shirts.
The couple, both motorcycle riders, have traveled all over the country together on motorcycle trips, and May-Ipsarides had so many fond memories of her husband wearing the shirt, she didn't want to get rid of it.
"So I cut it up and made a skirt out of it," she says.
Since then, May-Ipsarides has made hundreds of t-skirts under the business name Tigerlily Gallery & Boutique, which was the name of a gallery she operated in Mineral Point, Wis. a few years ago.
Today, she creates the t-skirts from her Germantown home. She sells at festivals but mostly takes orders from customers through her Facebook page.
May-Ipsarides will use her own T-shirts – she has "bins and bins" of them – or special shirts provided by the customer to construct the skirt. Many of the shirts she repurposes are embossed with sports team or musical group logos. The t-skirts are made from panels of reused clothing and have a draw-string waist.
She also makes skirts from old leather jackets and other articles of clothing, including boots, halters and coats.
Leather t-skirts cost $75 ($89 if postage is required) and it's $55 ($65 with postage) for a t-skirt. She also sells kids' t-skirts for $30.
Recently, May-Ipsarides' brother-in-law passed away from cancer and her sister had a difficult time parting with his belongings.
In an effort to comfort her grieving sister, May-Ipsarides took his favorite Brewers shirt and made it into a skirt. Her sister wears it often and even has a double frame with a photo of her husband wearing the shirt next a photo of her wearing it as a skirt.
She has also created t-skirts for the bands 33 RPM and Spoiled Rotten.
May-Ipsarides says she wears a t-skirt every day, mostly because they're so comfortable. Her favorites are her t-skirts made from Harley-Davidson or Marquette shirts. She graduated from Marquette in 1997 with a degree in dental hygiene / health science.
Today, May-Ipsarides continues to work as a dental hygienist and has no plans to leave the profession even though her t-skirt business has really grown. She enjoys the success but has no interest in mass producing her t-skirts.
"They all have to be one-of-a-kind. You will never see the same one twice," she says. "Even with Tigerlily's significant growth, I will ensure the highest quality craftsmanship and the personal touch my skirts have become known for. I feel like I opened a door and I'm running through it."
Post a comment / write a review.
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.