Anna Todisco is feeling a little under the weather when we meet and as she curls into her chair holding a cup of tea, she earnestly explains to me that it takes somewhere around 2,700 gallons of water to take cotton from the ground and into our clothes.
Todisco is the founder and creative force behind Threads Todisco, the Charleston-based clothing company centered around the sustainable reinvention of thrifted clothes. What sets the 23-year-old apart from other vintage retailers is that she takes these thrifted finds and rethinks them in reference to modern trends as well as her own aesthetic standard. “It’s about creating a new life out of something that already had one,” Todisco explains.
Mollie Barasch and Tyler in Threads Todisco
Not long after declaring her costume design major at the College of Charleston, Todisco was encouraged to apply for a summer costuming internship with the Spoleto Festival. This internship, in addition to her studies, gave her invaluable experience reworking clothes and required her to occasionally go scouting for gems at thrift stores.
“I’m not proud to say, I’d never been to a Goodwill before that,” Todisco admits.
The woman herself, Anna Todisco
She remembers shopping with some of the more seasoned interns and recalls, “It was so helpful to be around these people who had been sewing for years because we would go into an Urban Outfitters or something and they would say, ‘you can make that.’”
She married these new skills with her passion for sustainability. Thanks to companies like Eco Age, Todisco realized she needed to hold herself accountable for the impact the clothes she made and wore had on the environment. These beautiful and simple realizations led to the birth of Threads Todisco in August of 2014.
Glennon Wagner in Threads Todisco
Her line is succinct, mostly shirts and dresses, which adds to the collection as a whole because she isn’t trying to do it all; she’s doing what she likes and doing it well. However, where Threads Todisco shines the most is the brand’s highly effective guerilla marketing. Since founding the line, Anna has taken to social media to spread her designs like wildfire.
Her shoots with local photographer and friend, Keller James, give off fun and trendy vibes that showcase the attitude of the clothes, the wearer, and the city of Charleston. James, 25, runs his own photography business, Keller James Photography, and met Todisco during their studies at the College. Their collaborations together began the summer of 2016. “I love Anna’s clothes. They’re my style. Also, she is truly a fantastic person so it was a no-brainer working with her,” says James.
Stylistically, the pair are a great fit. “My commercial work is more dramatic, bolder in color, and stylized while my personal work has a more subdued color palette and is primarily naturally lit,” James explains. His collaborations with Threads Todisco lie somewhere in the middle. The images are vibrant, surreal, warm and inviting all at the same time. “We are trying to reach out to a larger audience through these photos. It just gives them one more reason to take another look at her work.”
Todisco’s campaigns aren’t just there to market, they’re editorializing too. Self-awareness about her place in the world and the fashion industry is what makes her accessible. It’s undeniable that the Threads Todisco aesthetic mirrors the current style climate of the city, and that sense of individuality and autonomy can be seen in each piece. More than anything, Anna uses her skills and newfound visibility to give the people who wear her clothes another outlet for self expression. “I hope that when people shop my stuff they can find that little detail that makes it resonate with them.”
Check out Keller's work on his website and Instagram. You can find Anna and her threads March 4th at the upcoming Charleston Werk Week Fashion Show (7pm at The Southern) as well as Charleston City Night Market on weekends starting March 17th until December. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Etsy.