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Montana woman’s clothing company a lifetime in the making

We met a Missoula woman who wants to change that by using creativity and conservation to make clothes that last
Youer Clothing
Posted at 11:33 AM, Jan 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-23 13:33:11-05

MISSOULA — It started with a used sewing machine, an Etsy shop and a passion for designing clothes. Add to that the realization that most of us wear an item of clothing maybe seven times before we toss it out or give it away.

We met a Missoula woman who wants to change that by using creativity and conservation to make clothes that last.

"Youer" plays into this idea of being extra original and extra individual. No one is ‘youer’ than you!” said founder Mallory Ottariano.

Ottariano calls herself the Chief Everything Officer at Youer, a clothing company based in Missoula that is a business a lifetime in the making.

"Growing up, I was super into clothes, I’ve always very much so loved style. And expressing my personality through style and creativity and making things was a big piece of my childhood,” Ottariano told MTN News. “I made a lot of clothes with my family growing up and always had a creative outlet. "

Now operating out of a space off Expressway in Missoula, this team of six is designing, making, marketing, packing, and shipping clothing inspired by a mountain lifestyle.

Mallory Ottariano
Mallory Ottariano calls herself the Chief Everything Officer at Youer, a clothing company based in Missoula that is a business a lifetime in the making.

“We make colorful clothes for original individuals. is kind of how we phrase it. Tools that allow people to express their personal style,” Ottariano explained. “Very much focused on the outdoor enthusiast, a woman who moves throughout the day but very right bold colors and pieces that are flexible.”

Ottariano creates accent prints, inspired by the flora of Montana — and color is important.

"I kind of pull from observations. We look at trends a little but not really. Mostly just like things that I feel drawn to. I poll our Instagram community a lot, for our fall 2024 season, our Instagram followers named all the colors for us," Ottariano said.

But what’s also important to Youer is using materials that do more good than harm — especially in a world where fast fashion is filling up landfills.

"We’re really crafting things that fit beautifully and that are designed really well so you want to reach for them day after day, year after year,” Ottariano said. “We chose materials intentionally. We use materials that are extremely high quality, made from sustainable fibers like recycled plastic bottles and a lot of bio nylon which is a nylon made in a lab instead of with petroleum so it’s an alternative plastic essentially.”

Youer Sewing Machine
What’s important to Youer is using materials that do more good than harm — especially in a world where fast fashion is filling up landfills.

We met Sarah Cabral, the technical designer and product development officer whose engineering background is now woven into style.

“I’ve always loved fashion and clothes. And sewing. and I started making Barbie clothes which is funny. But then I offset and tried to become an engineer,” Cabral said. “But now I feel I am an engineer of fashion because I'm the side...between the architecture and the engineer, the creative side and making sure the clothes are wearable.”

The space was made possible by crowdfunding efforts. They make 30% of the clothes they sell with a goal of 100% by 2025 — so it’s time to grow.

We’re in the process of growing our production team. We need to add more skilled sewers so we can invest in training so we can operate these machines called flat locks -- which we have the only flat locks in Montana here, but they’re not in operation yet,” Ottariano said. “But if you have industrial sewing experience and you are looking for a full-time job in a fun place, we’d like to talk to you!”

Visit https://www.shopyouer.com/ to learn more about Youer.