Fashion with a mission drives business and fundraising event

By Lynne Conner for Chronicle Media

Sarene Alsharif (left) of Tad More Tailoring and Alterations fits a jacket on Calissa Franco for the Restyle the Runway Fashion Show. (Photo by Lynne Conner/for Chronicle Media)

The “Three R’s” of Tad More Tailoring and Alterations in Rockford represent repurpose, recycle, and reuse.

Empowered by these ideals, Sarene Alsharif, the business’s co-founder, is determined to save the planet, one garment at a time.

“The average American throws away around 70 pounds of reusable textiles every year. Combined, that’s about the size of the Empire State Building going into landfills,” Alsharif said. “The fashion production industry is responsible for about 10 percent of all airborne carbon emissions.”

To help combat these statistics, Alsharif has focused Tad More Tailoring’s business model around helping her clients restyle their favorite clothes through alterations, repurpose old or worn clothing for household cleaning, and thrift shop for “new” clothes.

“Everyone has clothes they love just sitting in their closets that could be worn if the garments fit better,” she said. “Altering existing clothes by shortening, adding material, or changing seams allows people to use what they have rather than always buying new items. If each American bought one less pair of jeans annually, it would equal taking one million cars off the road.”

Repurposing donated clothes is the basis for Restyle the Runway, a Fall Fashion-Forward Show that Tad More Tailoring and Alterations is co-sponsoring to benefit Womanspace. The event is slated for Saturday, Sept. 9, at Rockford University and will showcase clothes that Tad More Tailoring has transformed.

“Womanspace donated all of the second-hand clothes that we’ve altered and will be featured in the show,” Alsharif said. “Our models for the show are men and women from the Rockford area ranging in age from 20 to 80, and all of the clothes and accessories presented in the show will be available for purchase. We aim to educate the community that small alterations can transform your wardrobe and reduce the need to purchase brand-new clothes.”

Alsharif’s fashion mission to repurpose existing garments extends beyond the local area. Tad More Tailoring has an online portal where clients can send in clothes that need to be fixed.

“We are the number one website in the U.S. for online alterations, right here in Rockford,” she said. “The process is straightforward and streamlined for people to select the modifications they want, send in the clothing, and have it returned ready to wear. We strive to reuse the same shipping boxes people send us to deliver their completed garment, cutting down on waste and our carbon footprint.”

Tad More Tailoring’s website also offers a virtual fitting option.

Alsharif is excited to see what other green-based sustainable fashion events may grow from the Restyle the Runway fashion show.

“I’m very encouraged to see the Rockford community recognizing that we are empowered to make positive environmental changes and reduce the number of textiles that end up in landfills. So many good quality clothes in people’s closets and thrift stores can be remade into amazing pieces. I can’t wait to see what other green fashion events we can promote next.”

While saving the planet won’t happen overnight, Alsharif’s conservation-conscious business model proves that Tad More Tailoring and Alterations is making a positive global impact.