Flux Bene Creates Recyclable Fashion
A local sustainable business owner finds niche repurposing old fabric.
photos courtesy Flux Bene
The name of Rebekah Joy’s sustainable clothing shop was inspired by a coffee shop.
Joy was on a trip to Toronto with her sister when she spotted Cafe Bene and decided on Flux Bene for her own business. She liked the way it sounded, and she thought it would be a perfect fit: flux meaning a change and bene meaning “good” in Italian — a good change.
“[My sister] said, ‘No one’s gonna know how to pronounce it,’’’ Joy says.
Flux Bene (Flux Ben-A) is now one of three businesses that share a storefront in Lawrenceville called Make + Matter. Joy, Rona Chung of Otto Finn and Kelly Simpson-Scupelli of Kelly Lane Design opened the store in August in an attempt to create an atmosphere that was both socially and design conscious.
“One of our goals was to create a sense of community, especially for garment makers,” Joy says. “It can be isolating when you’re in your studio all the time.”
Joy, 34, has always had a desire to take items that were discarded and give them new life. She attempted to do that with her first local business, Honeyshow, in 2012 by selling repurposed clothing, but the business didn’t take off.
“I don’t think people were ready for upcycle designs at that time,” she says.
Joy realized that she needed to create items she wanted rather than worry about what others may want, and she decided to stick to custom work via alterations, starting Flux Bene in 2017.
“You can’t be too concerned with what you think people want because it is a lot of work, and if it isn’t filling you up, it isn’t worth it,” she says.
Flux Bene carries one-of-a-kind repurposed jackets, denim shirts, dresses and hip pockets (pouches that attach to your belt). Joy notes that she designs clothes and accessories she likes and is always pleased when others take interest. She does have one contingency per garment, though.
“I always know that I need to add pockets to things.”
Her jackets embrace the idea of a “jacket match” made popular by recent posts on Flux Bene’s Instagram. Joy only makes about 50 of these jackets a year, all unique in style and size. She says that it’s not often people will find something they love that’s in their size, but when it happens, she knows that person and item are meant to be.
“I can just see it when someone puts one on. I’ve told people, ‘I think there’s gonna be a better one for you.’”
Joy uses second-hand materials to create all her products, such as upcycled denim or canvas. She sources them from thrift stores or eBay and says that people will often give her things they find around. This puts her in the position of, say, a vintage dealer.
Her hip pockets do feature one unique material, though; popped bicycle tubes are used for the loops.
As more people continue to shift in favor of sustainability over throwaway fashion, Joy has managed to find a niche in an ever-growing market. According to resale site ThredUp, in 2018, one in three women bought vintage.
The prices of Joy’s items vary: $60 for hip pockets, around $120 for jackets and $180 for dresses. Joy feels the price is justified not only through the work it takes to make the products, but also through the aspect of recycling that prevents this type of clothing from ending up in landfills sooner.
“I see these items as: a lot is already is invested in them, and with a little more investment, they’ll be around longer,” she says.