But not until some required reading at the Cleveland Institute of Art did she realize green was the way to go. So the 24-year-old from West Park narrowed her focus to eco-friendly fashion. “I didn’t want to create more waste, so I started combining fabrics from thrift store clothes to create something new,” she says.
Ruccella studied textiles in London, working with organic, natural fabrics. She returned to Cleveland to complete her bachelor of fine arts degree last May with a focus on fiber and material studies. For her final classwork, she designed several pieces demonstrating her vision for chic clothing made of organic material. Ruccella debuted those seven garments — known as Ccella (pronounced “Chella”) Bottega — at last year’s Fashion Week Cleveland, earning a Vision Award for Entrepreneurial Thinking.
But it didn’t end with graduation. Ruccella launched Ccella Bottega with $3,000 — enough to make her samples and a few more pieces using materials from environmentally friendly women’s co-ops. “It adds meaning to what I do,” she says.
Slated to hit stores Aug. 15, the fall line will be in limited distribution with a handful of stores on the East and West sides. With prices from $200 to $600, expect fashionable frocks made “to go to work and out afterward, just by changing your shoes,” she says. Ruccella offers vibrant colors and contrasting textures in organic silk and soft cotton with shapely silhouettes and smart details such as cutouts.
Headlining next month’s Fashion Week, Ruccella aims to have a 30-piece collection by 2009 with clothing for men, too. “I want to keep it as green as I can,” she says. “It’s important to me to keep it as natural as possible.”