Fashion student spotlight: Amy Kohlbrenner

When you are 18, it can be difficult to make a decision that will impact your future. College can not only teach you more about your passion, but more about yourself. 

Amy Kohlbrenner grew up in Marin County in the San Francisco Bay Area. Moving down to Southern California for college was a major shift in her life, but she always knew Los Angeles was where her future was meant to be. 

When Kohlbrenner first came to Cal Poly Pomona, she joined the track team. She recalls her practices where they would run to the Apparel Merchandising and Management (AMM) buildings. She always admired the posters hanging on the windows.

“I actually came into Cal Poly Pomona as an environmental biology major and it’s strange because my major (AMM) now deals with fashion,” Kohlbrenner said. “If you didn’t know, clothing is actually the second leading cause of harm for the environment after oil pollution.”

A sample of the art Kohlbrenner inputs into her pieces.
(Courtesy of Amy Kohlbrenner)

Kohlbrenner recognizes the need for balance in the fashion industry with creating pieces from green material to reduce waste. 

Kholbrenner strives to be more “eco-friendly.” (Courtesy of Amy Kohlbrenner)

The production of clothing can be harmful to the environment due to the release of toxic chemicals in the air and the use of wasteful textiles. 

The fashion industry is slowly transitioning into creating sustainable and recycled pieces. Major fashion brands such as Prada and Reformation have started clothing lines advocating the need for “eco-friendliness” in the fashion industry. They have started using recycled water bottles, old carpets and used fabrics to produce their clothing lines. 

With starting her own clothing brand, Kohlbrenner also wants to emphasize the importance of creating unique garments from recycled pieces of clothing. 

She was inspired by designers of For Love and Lemons and Iris van Herpen. 

Starting her own fashion brand was something Kohlbrenner knew she always wanted. At the beginning of her third year, she reached out to her friend Gracie Kolb who shares the same passion as she does.  

“I was kind of just like, ‘Are you in or are you out? Because I know this is something I really want to do,’” Kohlbrenner said. 

Kolb and Kohlbrenner came together and finalized the name of their clothing brand and called it The House. 

From tie-dying to sewing fabrics, everything is handmade by her and Kolb. With her work, she pays close attention to detail and dedicates hours of her time to the articles of clothing she creates. 

Kohlbrenner utilizes her creativity by finding recycled items to use to create her pieces. She uses her clothing creations to voice women’s empowerment, breast cancer awareness and a variety of social issues. These messages give her pieces a more powerful meaning.

Kohlbrenner uses her clothes to voice social issues.
(Courtesy of Amy Kohlbrenner)

After a couple months of starting up their brand, The House has had major growth. They have appeared at pop-up events, fashion shows and collaborated with organizations for special projects. At the events, they bring their unique pieces to sell to the attendees. 

Kohlbrenner believes that through her college experience she was able to learn a lot to prepare herself for starting her own brand. 

She understands the importance of communication when working on a team, having an eye for fashion trends and understanding the management aspect of a business.

Kohlbrenner’s success will only grow from here and she is excited for The House’s future plans. She dreams of the day she opens up her own thrift store full of upcycled pieces with her studio apartment right above the store. 

You can find more of Kohlbrenner’s pieces and upcoming events on Instagram @the.h0use. 

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