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Q&A with Mary Bemis, Owner of Reprise

Last month, as a part of Brands x Better, the owner of Reprise, Mary Bemis, reached out to Health In Harmony, wanting to donate 10% of her profits throughout the month of May to support our Emergency Fund. We were impressed with her clothing line, and how she works with plant-based fabrics and never uses oil-based synthetics or recycled plastics due to their impact on the planet.

We are very excited to work with Mary, so we wanted to share more about her work, motivations and why she decided to start Reprise. The following is a Q&A we did together earlier this week!

Why is taking care of the planet important to you?

Mary Bemis, Owner of Reprise

Caring for the planet is something I had ingrained in me from when I was young – living in a household that prioritized spending time in nature – so it’s not a surprise that I now want to dedicate my professional career to this. But it wasn’t really until I started learning about the ways I was unknowingly harming the planet through my fashion choices that I really wanted to take more action.

My biggest concern is the amount of microplastics that shed from our clothing when we wash them. They are tiny, mostly invisible to the naked eye, threads of plastic that shed from our clothing into our washing machines and out into our water sources, since they are too small for wastewater treatment centers to catch. Scientists have been finding these tiny plastic threads all over the world, in the most remote places, and now even in our food chain from seafood to salt.

This has great and unknown repercussions for our health and the health of our planet, showing these two are always connected!

What inspired you to start Reprise?

The idea to start Reprise was a bit of a career turn for me, as I decided I wanted to dedicate my time to something more meaningful and change-making. One day I was cleaning out my closet and trying to resell my clothing online when I realized that all of my clothing was made with a material called Polyester. I had never thought about what my clothing was made of, so when I looked it up and realized that I owned a closet full of plastic, this really kicked off my journey into learning more about clothing production and how I could create a solution for this.

There are a lot of different solutions for sustainable fashion these days, but Reprise has such a unique take on trying to create the conversation around clothing as skincare, and removing polyester fibers all together.

What is Reprise’s Mission and how does it align with Health In Harmony?

Reprise’s mission is to promote a cleaner Earth and a cleaner body by freeing our closets from plastic. We’re focused on our clothing choices, but our larger vision of protecting the planet aligns well with Health In Harmony’s mission to protect our rainforest ecosystems.

How have your business priorities or personal values changed since COVID-19 began?

Our business priorities haven’t really changed because Reprise has always held the health of our community and the planet as number one.

The messaging we use has changed a bit to figure out how we can support our community and focus more on giving back instead of increasing sales and growing the business right now.

Our factories are located in the United States and are both shut down as a result of the stay-at-home orders, so we’re donating any extra fabric on hand to factories making masks and are always looking for other ways we can help during this crisis.

What ways are you using your platform to raise awareness of the climate crisis?

I think the biggest thing is to get out there and keep using your voice to advocate for what you’re passionate about. I’m naturally more shy and so getting in front of people used to terrify me.

I continue to push myself to get out there because each time we use our voices someone else may learn more about ways they can make a difference. It just took one small moment for me to make a big change, and I’m hoping that I can inspire others to do so as well!

What is giving you hope at this time?

Partnerships! We connected with Health In Harmony by joining a coalition of brands called Brands x Better who are coming together to support each other and give back.

I’ve seen a lot of other similar initiatives from groups of brands, and it’s really inspiring to see how we can all come together to make our voices heard and make a greater impact together!

Anything else you would like to share?

You can find out more about Reprise on our website and on social media channels @repriseactivewear.

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