2019 DV grad starts her own apparel company - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

2019 DV grad starts her own apparel company

December 31st, 2020 SanTan Sun News
2019 DV grad starts her own apparel company

By Coty Dolores Miranda

Before the pandemic struck, 11-year Ahwatukee resident Hannah Ervin had traveled to Switzerland, Hawaii and Brazil.
They were journeys with other purposes but the inspiration from absorbing other cultures helped fuel her passion for fashion design using sustainable materials.
When COVID-19 brought her home from Brazil last March, she decided to use sketches she had made in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Fortaleza and other cities to begin designing her own line of handmade recycled and repurposed clothing.
She had also gained exposure to other cultures while in a three-month training program with Youth With A Mission in Kona, Hawaii, learning about connecting with and teaching foster children and orphans through art.
“Because YWAM is an international program, even in Hawaii I was with people from all over the world – Asia, South America, Europe,” said Ervin, a 2019 DVHS grad. “And then I went to Brazil, working with orphans and foster care children.
“I was inspired by how the people had such a unique way of dressing, especially repurposing clothes. They had such style. Each little region had their own style. And color! Lots of color. I was so inspired and I started drawing designs on paper.”
In April, when nearly half the planet was under COVID-19 lockdown, the 20-year-old decided to make good use of her newly-found time to bring her designs to life by sitting down at her Husqvarna Viking Jade 20 sewing machine and her Brother serger machine, perched atop two tables.
She has a designated space for her nascent business in the family’s loft area with shelves and bins for fabrics and a garment rack for finished clothes.
April was also the month Ervin lost her maternal grandmother and mentor, Patricia Patlen.
“I’ve always been inspired by my grandma to pursue my dreams in fashion and sewing. She taught me how to sew at a young age and constantly encouraged and supported me to use my talent,” said Ervin.
“I lost my dear grandma to cancer and it was the hardest thing I had to go through, especially in the midst of COVID. Her legacy is what inspires me to keep pursuing my dreams and pushing forward even when I feel discouraged,” she continued.
“It was always her dream for me to have my own business, and I would never be where I am today without her love and encouragement.”
And she continued to follow her dream.
By July, she had amassed enough custom designs to feel confident about putting them online for sale.
She named her business Threads by Grace, incorporating her middle name.
“I wanted to focus on the importance of sustainability within my brand because people need to be more aware of the unethical process that is within the fashion industry. I upcycle old clothes as well as use all scrap fabrics and deadstock fabrics within my work. I love that each piece of mine is a one-of-a-kind piece, meaning that no pieces are the same,” she explained.
Ervin credits her family for being “incredibly supportive” of her business and her drive to continually improve.
“My mom and dad and my two younger brothers – we’re all very close and supportive of each other,” she said, speaking of her parents Jerry and Allison Ervin and brothers Elijah and Noah Ervin.
“My parents are upbeat in the midst of everything. Even in this time of COVID, we’ve each found ways to utilize the time we have to grow.”
She said the pandemic’s downtime offered her more opportunities to focus on her business.
“Even before I graduated in 2019, I was always sewing and making clothes but I had a lot going on with school and outside activities,” said Erwin, a member of the Thunder girls’ track and field varsity team for three years.
“I’ve always wanted a business of my own, but never had the right timing.”
Following her graduation from Desert Vista, Ervin had some soul-searching decisions to make.
“Thanks to my parents’ support, I took a gap year and went to Hawaii and Brazil with YWAM where I was training on ways to work with foster kids through art,” she said.
“When COVID brought me home, I spent most of my time practicing my (sewing) skills and learning more statistics on the fashion industry. I started out just selling to friends. Then those friends and my family saw my designs and really started motivating me.”
As a tenet of her new business, Ervin donates 10 to 15 percent of her profits to nonprofits, each month selecting a specific theme and recipient.
One of her first was Phoenix Dream Center where she still volunteers in the administration office once a week.
Founded in 2006, the nonprofit Phoenix Dream Center helps at-risk youth and needy families, and is committed to stopping human trafficking, fighting drug addiction and ending childhood hunger.
“I tithe on my own but this is something I wanted to do for my company; I just want to give back,” explained Ervin.
The youthful entrepreneur is looking forward to furthering her education once travel is possible again.
“In the future I do plan on studying abroad in design school, specifically in the UK area as well as Milan, Italy,” she said. “I love to travel and draw a lot of inspiration from surrounding people and cultures, and it’s important for me to immerse myself in a variety of cultures and respect their fashions and beliefs.”
At present, Ervin’s clothing line is available on Instagram @threadsbyGrace.co, and her website at depop.com and search “Hannah Ervin.”
She said she is working on putting herself on Facebook.
She said she likes to encourage others to follow their own path, regardless of what others may think or say.
“I didn’t take the typical route and go to college directly after high school. At first, I felt a bit ashamed like I was not making the right decision or that I’d be judged, but I had so many goals and dreams that I wanted to pursue and I felt the best way for me to do that was not going to college right away but exploring my options,” she said.
“I think it’s important for young adults to understand that they don’t have to always conform to what society says is quote-unquote, normal. It’s important to find your passions and pursue your dreams — pursue yourself as well as your happiness.”