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South Fulton mom uses thrift store finds to reimagine children's clothing

Alissa Bertrand repurposes table cloths and bed skirts into fashionable clothing for her young girls. Her designs are attracting thousands of followers on Instagram.

SOUTH FULTON, Ga. — In her South Fulton home, surrounded by vintage lace, ribbons and treasures collected over the years, Alissa Bertrand finds her inspiration.

"I look at this piece," Bertrand said of her vintage fabric finds. "Someone loved it before, and I love it now, and I'm going to make it into something smaller for one of my girls."

A mom of six, Bertrand started sewing more than twenty years ago, but it was when she started shopping for her youngest girls that the idea to create her daughters' clothing emerged. 

"Mixing patterns, mixing prints, adding colors you'd never see on children. That's how it started," Bertrand told 11Alive's Liza Lucas. "I was like you know what, they should make this in a children's size."

Jabella Fleur was the result, creations based on a patchwork of fabrics Bertrand discovers in thrift stores.

From table cloths to bed skirts and even doilies, Bertrand re-purposes her finds into fashionable clothes for her three youngest daughters. 

Her aesthetic attracting more than 45,000 followers on Instagram, where photos of her designs are modeled by her daughters.

"I envision what someone would wear if they were here at this location," Bertrand said. "That's kind of how I design and put the pictures together."

While Jabella Fleur designs aren't for sale, Bertrand does hope to launch her own line in the future. She's already garnered the attention of Vogue, Atlanta Magazine and popular children's designer Pink Chicken, with whom she recently collaborated.

Jabella Fleur ultimately highlights Bertrand's vision for children's fashion but also, a perspective she said was missing in her own childhood.

"As a child, I never saw images of black girls in magazines or on anything in that matter that struck me to say 'wow, I wish I knew them or had that ability,'" she said. 

So Bertrand uses her Instagram platform and photography to alter that narrative, presenting images of black children (her daughters) in beautiful fashion and carefree, playful settings. It's part of her mission to be the change in fashion she hopes to see. 

"I'm changing that," she said. "One image, one square at a time."