13 Year-Old Maya Shea Penn Makes Sustainable Clothing for Eco-Conscious Fashionistas

by , 08/24/13

Maya Penn, Mayas Ideas, fashion, sustainable fashion, eco-friendly clothes, organic, cotton, bamboo, young entrepreneurs, philanthropy,

“A lot of people ask me, why eco-friendly?” Maya writes for The Kind Life. “My parents taught me at an early age about recycling, organic gardening, being environmentally aware, and being a good steward by respecting the planet and taking care of its animals. I heard about how the dyes in clothing or the process of even making the items was harmful to the people, animals, and the planet.  So I started doing my OWN research and I found out believe it or not there is a wide variety of health problems for people chemically sensitive to the dyes.”

She’s absolutely correct: In 2011, Greenpeace published a report called Dirty Laundry 2. In it, the organization revealed that traces of toxic chemicals — specifically nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) — had been found in products made by 14 big-brand clothing manufacturers, including Adidas and H&M. Those with sensitivity to these harsh chemicals often experience negative symptoms, from rashes to difficulty breathing.

Maya sees no reason why kids should have to wear chemical-laden clothing that pollutes our water and air, so she started making her own. “I use natural fruit and vegetable dyes and herbal teas to dye scarves and T-shirts,” she explains at The Kind Life. “I use materials like organic burlap, 100% organic cotton, hemp, tencel, art silk (not really silk, but a blend of rayon and cotton), and fleece, as well as recycled and vintage materials in creating my clothing and accessories.”

The products offered by Maya’s Ideas have all of the whimsy and prettiness of designs created by a young girl in love with fashion and nature and animals. An avid drawer, Maya says that many of her designs start as simple doodles. Her collection includes lovely accent pieces, like the Asymmetrical Angles Bamboo Cotton Jersey Scarf, as well as tanks, tees, and tops, jewelry and hair accessories. She’s even branching out into wedding fashions! All are decidedly modern, with colors and patterns that fit perfectly into any wardrobe.

“I feel that I can meet the needs of my customers without compromising the ability of the future generations to live in a greener tomorrow,” Maya wrote. “I believe that everyone should do their part in coming up with new and innovative ways to make positive changes affecting our environment and it’s creatures efficiently, and sufficiently.”

In addition to donating up to 20 percent of the profits made by Maya’s Ideas to local and global charities, Maya recently wrote and illustrated her first book Lucy and Sammy Save the Environment, which teaches younger children the basics of recycling, pollution, and greenhouse gases. The 20-page book is initially being made available through Atlanta schools.

+ Maya’s Ideas

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One Response to “13 Year-Old Maya Shea Penn Makes Sustainable Clothing for Eco-Conscious Fashionistas”

  1. weber794 says:

    Maya! Very impressive work! From your creativity to your eco-designs!! Make sure to not pay a dime for college, apply for those scholarships! You will get (and deserve!) every single one!!

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