GIVEAWAY: Tara St. James Zipper Necklace and Cuff Set (Worth $70!)

Tara St. James Zipper Necklace and Cuff Giveaway

It was love at first sight for us when we laid our eyes on designer and friend Tara St. James’ “fasten-ating” accessories upcycled from broken zippers, and we’re thrilled to be able to give away two of our favorite pieces to one lucky Ecouterre reader! St. James has put together a special set that includes her elegant single zipper necklace and rocker-chic zipper cuff, both made from excess zippers that have been saved from the dumpster. If you can imagine these two gorgeous pieces glinting on your arm and around your neck, enter our contest today for a chance to make your eco-fashion daydream into a reality!


1. SIGN UP FOR THE ECOUTERRE NEWSLETTER (This is important because we’ll be announcing our winner there.)

2. LEAVE A COMMENT below telling us how you’ve taken something that might be considered trash (maybe an old T-shirt, an earring that’s lost its partner, or a scarf that you found at a thrift shop) and turned it into a treasured part of your wardrobe>. We’ll pick the response we like the best, so be as detailed and creative as possible!

We’ll pick our favorite comment and announce the winner in our newsletter on Wednesday, February 3. The deadline to enter is 12 midnight ET on Tuesday, February 2, so ENTER NOW for a chance to add this stunning set to your green accessory collection!

+ Tara St. James

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57 Responses to “GIVEAWAY: Tara St. James Zipper Necklace and Cuff Set (Worth $70!)”

  1. modwod says:

    I’m a big fan of recycling used stuff, and clothing is my favorite because it can be cut up and resewn into cool new pieces. My favorite recycled item of clothing is actually a combination of several items of clothing. I took three old cotton tshirts (one was dark blue with a huge print of a sunrise over a winter forest, the second was plain gray with a ribbed texture and the third a bright fuschia with a confetti print)and cut them vertically into strips. Then i mix/matched the strips and sewed them back into a shirt with some strips left over- those went into the scrap bin for future projects. From the scrap bin i picked out a white lace-edged table runner i rescued from my neighbor, who had marked it for the trash due to a big rip caused by their terrier. I cut off the lace and used it to frill the edges of the shirt’s cap sleeves and bottom hem, and it was done! The lace really dressed it up, and i could pair it with almost anything- skinny or straight leg jeans, short skirts, you name it. Sadly my ex-girlfriend co-opted it and fled and i haven’t seen it since. But i haven’t stopped sewing!

  2. shopadith says:

    I got the reclaimed zipper necklace for my roommate as a holiday gift and she absolutely loves it! It hangs at a perfect length and is an awesome compliment to any outfit.

    I love using old ties as headbands!

  3. blingbling2000 says:

    I love taking old oversized t-shirts, and transforming them into cute fitted halters or tanks. But, the best part of this project is the left over sleeves are the perfect size for head bands or bracelets. I wear mostly black to work, and when the day is done these easy accessories are great way to add a little unexpected style to my one note wardrobe.

  4. MissMakesaLot says:

    i ripped up a pair of leather flats and hand-crafted them into a small leather clutch. the mis-matched pattern only added to the cool factor. upcycle, baby!!!!

  5. AKing says:

    I’m going to twist the answer from wearable to decorative. I spent the first 6 months of 2009 converting 120+ pairs of used jeans into an area rug that measures 10 1/2′ by 8′ (it weighs over 100 lbs). The denim includes my own and scrounging from friends, family and friends of friends. I cut the jeans down to one inch strips, sewed them together and crocheted the rug. The colors vary from bleached out blue to black. I tried to keep stains, patches and other imperfections in the strips. I consider it my memory rug as it is embedded with all the memories those jeans contained.

  6. CounterCouture says:

    The process of upcycling is very dear to me, so much so that I formed my own eco-fashion business around it during a global recession. My business gathers bridesmaid dresses and collaborates with local talent to completely redesign them into wearable, modern and sexy cocktail dresses at a reasonable price point. We were actually featured in Ecouterre a couple months ago, very exciting! This beautifully designed jewelry set just exemplifies what people can do with a little creativity and problem solving ability. The trend is moving toward innovation more and more everyday and I’m so proud to be a part of it.

  7. lisakw27 says:

    I once made a bracelet from string and pop-tabs!!

  8. jessimarie33 says:

    I love these! I also love the idea of taking old things and making them into new, fun fashion. One of my favorites that I created was from an old leather rope belt off a large ladies sweater. The leather strip came off the sweater and was getting thrown out, but I was drawn to it, so I wrapped and wrapped it around my wrist and tied it in knots with beads and it become an awesome cuff. It has also played headband for me as well!

  9. cyberkittylitter says:

    One of my most memorable projects was upcycling some underwear into one terrifically saucy T-shirt!

  10. Jennifer Smith says:

    I don’t have much time to sew anymore, but I like the idea of updated vintage garments by taking them apart and recutting them – I love vintage clothing for its detail and wonderful prints, and when the fabric is natural as opposed to synthetic, it becomes so much softer with age.

  11. mannequin says:

    When we moved in our 1940’s Cape cod, the decor hadn’t been changed since the fifties. Barkcloth curtains in the kitchen were hung by antique brass rings. What a treasure! I collected all the brass rings and with jewelers wire, formed a long chain of brass rings. After I made a chain belt, I had 4 rings leftover to make double ring earrings, using hooks from my broken costume jewelry stash.
    I wear both frequently and almost always get compliments. I just love the feel of dangly earrings and a belt that jingles when I walk!

  12. en.arquitectura says:

    i love the idea of upcycled designs. you’re helping the planet using design as the best strategy. And to make real treasures with it, well, is the best deal. Now, i have a project of upcycle my handbags. Sometimes, your favorite bag starts looking old and worn. So for example, i took the handle rings, the tiny detailed bag in the front, the inside fabric with those little bags, the zipper and put it all in a new body bag made of fabric, or better, of rubbish materials like milk tetrapack, old bed linen, leftover pieces of fabric sewn as collage, etc. i love upcycled!

  13. DorotheeRoyal says:

    Peek-a-boo! My favorite upcycling project involved taking an old denim skirt and turning it into a clutch purse complete with a button and zipper fly as the opening!

  14. kfoxaz says:

    This is the best upcycled idea ever!! Sweater boots…very trendy right now and a great use for that old sweater and a pair of flats.

    Get all the details here:

  15. says:

    Cold arms are my bain. I love short sleeves, 3/4 sleeves and sleeveless but my arms get cold on chilly winter days, so, I took an old pair of lacey footless stockings/leggings cut the bum part off and put the legs on my arms. I get lots of comments and I’m warm. Looks realy cool. I have red ones, black ones, plain ones and just beaten up ones with runs and safty pins for my extra goth days.

  16. Mag says:

    I take old matchless earrings and make them part of the hats I make.

  17. megzpye says:

    We had a large stash of plastic bags leftover from our pre-reusable grocery bags days, and I always forgot to take them to recycle. So one afternoon I poked holes in the lid of an old shoebox to make a mini loom, cut the plastic bags into loops, and wove myself a little clutch/wallet! I ironed a few layers of bags together to create a really strong lining material for inside the clutch, and melted the lining and woven pieces together at the ‘seams’. The mix of hot pink, white, and gray made a really cool pattern! Who would have thought you could turn such a droll everyday item (and cupboard hog!) into a chic accessory?

  18. Annie1 says:

    I’m very proud of my latest idea. I make regular trips to The Salvation Army and other local thrift shops around town, hunting for men’s pleated tuxedo shirts.

    I rip the stitching and take the collar off, and sew it back up, which leaves a very asian inspired collar.

    I leave some white, tie dye others, batik and embroider them. Fun and cheap with people always asking me where I got my shirts from!


  19. Alice in Wonderland says:

    My favorite re-used item is actually from cork screws. Sharing some nice wine with friends or family is one of the greatest things and the bottle and cork screw are always re-used. I use the cork to make nice long necklaces and sometimes bracelets. These also make great sustainable presents. As for the bottle I fill it up again or just use it as a candle holder.

  20. aligdesign says:

    OK- this isn’t clothing related but it is recycling what people consider trash. I was getting all kinds of free newspapers arriving at my home. Each newspaper was wrapped in a colorful plastic sleeve. I started collecting them. The red ones turned into my holiday wreath. I sliced the bag into strips and tied them around a basic wreath base (that I found at Goodwill). The effect looks like red feathers. The other colorful bags were cut open and fused together (with lots of patience) and turned into a messenger bag for a friend. Wish I could attach to this comment.

  21. RLBigler says:

    I’m inspired to reinvent worn out items into wearable art by the long standing human traditions of adorning ourselves with interesting and meaningful found objects. I love the invention and problem solving necessary to turn a non-wearable item into something fashionable. My most recent reincarnation involves a lost lone butter knife, glass seed beads on the super-discount rack at my favorite locally owned bead shop and a silk ribbon rescued from the garbage. I chopped off the handle from the blade of the butter knife (saving it for a future use), drilled a pattern of holes in the blade and finished/filed all the rough edges. Then using bead wire and the beads I looped and twisted beads around the blade using the holes, reminiscent of ocean waves or a tiny roller coaster. I fashioned a bale from the wire and beads and strung the pendant on the silk ribbon.

  22. thecatenelson says:

    One thing that I’m really excited about (and working on now) is an upcycled clutch purse.
    A nearby recycling center has a used book bin. People leave behind their books so they don’t end up in the trash. My favorite are the Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. Once you pull off the book jacket, you find really interesting covers. I found one with trees and flower petals and removed the covers from the books, then punched holes along the side. Then I attached leather (scraps, leftover from a leather worker) for the bottom, fabric for the sides, and leather on the top for a handle.
    Viola! An adorable clutch purse.

  23. lisaoram says:

    I save old gift cards, insurance ID cards, credit cards – you get the idea, and then my 11-year-old daughter cuts them into shapes, covers them in paper collage, punches a small hole, and makes them into earrings. I have a vision of how they could become a necklace, too. My daughter sold the earrings at holiday craft fair in December and got a great response! If I win this jewelry, I think the necklace will go to her (but she better let me borrow it sometimes!)

  24. genny315 says:

    I buy vintage dresses from thrift stores, re-sew them to my size, then customize them with my own personal touches!

  25. myglamorousbaby says:

    I make childrens clothes and I hate throwing away fabric scraps so now I make patchwork skirts with the fabric scraps I also incorporate old jeans that my kids don’t wear or no longer fit into the design as well as buttons and ribbons.

  26. diana.b says:

    My mother has always been a style icon of mine. I remember going through her closets and being fascinated by the sheer and silky textures of her dresses and skirt slips. When the elastic finally wore out on a light pink slip I had been eyeing for years, I asked her if I could have it. She agreed to give it to me to reconstruct into something wearable and new.

    I made it into a backless halter top with a plunging neckline. Having collected some beige lace that I had taken from another vintage dress slip, I sewed on extra long pieces of trim to use for tying the halter around the back of the neck and the waist.

    The halter works well with jeans for a casual look or a long satin skirt for a romantic night out. I have never been able to find any jewelry that looked good with it since the neckline is a bit unusual. I would pair it with the Tara St. James single zipper necklace the rocker-chic zipper cuff though. The contrast of the edgy and elegant metal zippers next to the silky soft pink and lace would play off of one another, adding to the versatility of both.

  27. dharmabum88 says:

    I’m so enamored with the zipper trend right now as anti-trend as I am. I love that something so utilitarian can be so bold and fashion forward. Tara St. James’ necklace and cuff combo is by far the awesomest (yes awesomest) I’ve seen. So, I’m a vegetarian and that is actually the inspiration for my favorite recycled fashion piece. My diet is mainly Indian food so that means a lot of rice. The specific brand of rice I buy actually comes in a hand woven bag that zips at the top : ) After five years of going it veg, I was struck that I could put those bags to better use. So I got one of the bigger bags, attached a thrifted skinny leather belt to make a shoulder strap. With a piece of scrap cloth, I sewed in a small pocket to the inner lining of the bag to hold small items like my keys and the ubiquitous Burt’s Bees. And voila, a custom made bag with cool pictures of a Hindu goddess and Hindi script, and even better its durable enough to withstand my negligence and brute force.

  28. freeforged says:

    I once took a pair of those patchwork jeans and turned it into a skirt with a matching pair of leg warmers. It was super easy, just splitting the pants legs down the middle seam and resewing them back together in the front and back.

  29. ktkatherine says:

    I found a gorgeous scarf at a thrift store quite a long time ago – black background with a bright deep red and vibrant cobalt blue design on it. I paired it with a matching cobalt blue shirt and get a TON of compliments every time I wear it. The scarf has gotten super soft with age to boot. I pity the person who got rid of this beauty! Yay for me! :)

  30. ayeshamie says:

    My first attempt at making a skirt out of a top was about 12 years ago at the age of 13 when I came upon old clothes that was to be discarded by my aunt. Although the skirt was not well sewn, it looked really great!! From then on, I have never thrown away anything without truly reconsidering its potential. A year ago, my then future mother-in-law decided to throw away her chandelier lights to be replaced by new ones. Being a scavenger as I am, I painstakingly removed every glass crystal that was attached to the chandelier. Well.. it was worth all the effort! I have made many gorgeous designs with them such as necklace and ear rings, draped curtains made out of purely crystals, add them onto my lighting fixtures at home to give the house a more sparkly effect when they are lighted and the best part of it, you can definitely reuse them for other purposes once you get bored of them!

  31. annisa.nabila says:

    me and my friend once tried recycling old lamp bulbs. we cleaned and cut them, turning those old bulbs to be something more useful. they turned out to be a spice container, salt&pepper shaker, and a flower vase. it took a lot of patient to make them, but the result is quite satisfying. for more detail, see them here:

  32. Wrenesse says:

    I made a tote bag out of an I <3 NY tank top, and earrings from broken chandalier crystals.

  33. peaker says:

    When i was an architectural student , while i was making a laser cut architectural model. i designed the unused part of the laser cut board as a cabinet for my girl friend. This attempt highlight constraints as cataylist for innovation and investigate for a more sustainable design and manufacture process.

    you can view the product in my facebook album,

    or i can upload it somewhere for everyone to look at.

  34. jillvau says:

    I love love LOVE recycling old and making into new. I’ve recently taken tons of old ribbons, from presents, bridesmaids bouquets, you name it…and tied those together and then hot-glued them onto bobby pins to make cute little hair accessories. I’ve also recently taken a lot of old t-shirts that I will not let myself continue to wear b/c they are so worn, but did allow myself to connect and sew three nice scarves from those shirts. Man, talk about soft. It feels so nice strung around your neck, and the best part is…I still get to wear those shirts I loved so much in some form or fashion. I would love to add this jewelry set to my own home made collection! These would definitely be good conversation pieces.

  35. codisweepstakes2 says:

    I subscribe.
    One thing I did with something that would have been trash was this: My boyfriend had a regular black hoodie that was falling apart. I stitched it up back together again & then hunted down old tshirts that were too small, stained, etc. with band logos on them. I cut out the band logos and added them to the back of the hoodie as patches. My boyfriend is in a band & is proud of his musical tastes. He loves to wear this customized hoodie and show off his musical influences. Thanks for the contest! codisweepstakes2 (at)

  36. gina says:

    I make clay dolls & much of their dress & styling & overall look comes from found objects( unpaired earrings, jewelry, buttons & the such) and also all kinds of old clothes, even some of my old/worn out, but fancy bras & even stretched out tights get put to use. It adds a special unique touch & quality to my art.

  37. Sewsmith says:

    I come from a long line of Treasure Hunters and Hoarders. My most treasured piece is not one of mine though, it was made by my grand father when he was a young man working as a fitter and turner. He managed to piece together a wonderful Standard Lamp in chrome with a black glass table around the centre and even an ashtray. It really is beautiful and seems to have that knack of fitting into any decor and still looks great in my modern Australian home. My husband also likes to reuse and recreate and has recently made a guitar from a biscuit tin and scraps of wood. My seven year old son has just started to create his own range of cards using an old Gocco machine we rescued from a charity shop and my youngest is king of collage, I always seem to have magazines with holes in them!
    My own project at the moment is making a leather bag from my mothers old 1980’s leather jacket, I’ve just signed up for a blog account in order to share my progress, wish me luck :o)

  38. palatechica says:

    I recycle by turning old clothes of myself and friends into new wearable items. Some of my favorite reinventions are: turning a pair of jeans into a skirt, converting t-shirts into tank and halter tops, converting old bridesmaids dresses into party dresses, and my favorite work-in-progress is converting the Army fatigues of my friend’s husband into a purse. This last one is my favorite because when he is out on leave in Afghanistan she can have something of his with her that not only reminds her of her husband that is fighting for a cause he believes in, but it also gives her something functional that she can use on a daily basis.

  39. misskiki says:

    I love this necklace and cuff!!

    I have been taught, ever since I was a little girl, that it is extremely important to take what we have and use it to its full extent, and then either give it away or upcycle it. After attending Feel Good Music Festival in 06, I fell in love with patchwork pants and skirts, and thought to myself, “I can make those”. I now take old corduroy pants that I have worn myself, that others have worn, and secondhand pants, and cut them down into 4×4 inch squares, and turn them into new patchwork garments! Making these new works of art is so fulfilling to me, it is one way in which I attempt to live a Green Lifestyle!

  40. joannaonthelake says:

    I am a huge jeans fanatic so it is not unusual for me to have anywhere from 40-60 pairs of them at one time. Every 3-4 months I weed through them and decide on some to get rid of. Rather than throw them away, because generally the ones I choose to let go of are old and falling apart, I try and recycle them into use objects. I carefully remove the back pockets if they are decorative and I either sew them onto plain bookbags or I transform them into coaster for my coffee tables. This is both an easy way to make ordinary bags look hip and street chic and also turn your living space into a really hip looking place, with unique coaster to place your drinks on. I have also given friends packs of 6 jean pocket coasters as gifts and they all love them!

    I also love to save really old fancy buttons, some are off of vintage clothing that I have collected and some come off of blazers from the past and I make button earrings and brooches out of them. I have actually had friends ask me to make them button collages out of buttons they have collected so it has been a contagious and fun fashion adornment to collect.

    I never purchase or wear plain type clothes. The type of garments I love to wear are always embellished in some way, whether it is a pair of hot jeans or a fringe boucle jacket with jewel buttons. The same is true for the jewelry that I wear. The jewelry I enjoy wearing is always unique and plays an equally important role in defining my sense of style as the clothes I wear. I would absolutely love to own this very unique Tara St. James Zipper Necklace and Cuff, it is a combination of hip and cool that I look for without sacrificing femininity and glamour. It is just a fabulous set!

    Thanks so much for the chance to enter.

  41. getpalmd says:

    I cut my old jeans into shorts if they are in decent condition (no holes on the but so to say :-) ). I mean why buy ripped jeans shorts that are so on trend now when you have old jeans in your closet that will do it. Cheap and better than just throwing away the jeans!

    I subcribe.

  42. susan smoaks says:

    i have a hat that i added some flowers to that is really cool

  43. gkran says:

    I subscribed..

  44. gkran says:

    I took an old shirt and old elastic from some other clothes to create one of those plastic bag keepers. I put the bags in through the top and then pull them out from the bottom. Pretty nifty!

  45. Della1967 says:

    ok I took a tan top sheet cut it in half and made center curtains then put animal print panels an each side to match a animal print bed in a jungle room and it turned out really nice.

  46. shellthebell says:

    Fabrics are constantly going out of style and ending up in the landfills, especially upholstery fabric. I keep the old hangsets from my material library and cut up the fabric for really unique quilt patterns. They keep you warm and cozy so you can reduce your heating use and cost!

  47. laurelm says:

    When a cute pair of old socks start to get holes I cut off the toe part of the sock and sew them to make a thumb hole and wear them as gloves.

  48. thahawk says:

    My foray into ‘trashy’ jewelry started early… in elementary school, my best friend and I gathered buckeyes that had fallen from the trees and got her grandfather to drill a small hole through the middle. We then turned them into necklace beads, threading them onto colored string, old necklace chains, and wire. We’re still best friends, and we still love finding unique jewelry pieces!

  49. filmchick says:

    I love repurposing fabrics and clothes. Currently, I’ve taken a knit dress with a cute fabric and I’m making baby booties, baby hat, bibs, and a matching stuff animal out of it.

  50. hockiemack says:

    I recycle and re-use everything, but I think the best I’ve done is take my mom’s old saris (which are GORGEOUS with gold threading and great detail) and sew them into pillow covers. I got the technique down to a science where I could make a square pillow cover in 13 minutes from start to finish. I made so many in all these beautiful colors and now they’re home decor for my family and friends… and I didn’t spend a dime (well ok my mom did!)

  51. happydragon says:

    I am a goldsmith and all the metal I use is recycled, often from my clients’ old jewelry. I rarely get to keep my creations–usually selling them right off my body. I would love to win someone else’s jewelry because then I could keep it.

  52. marsonka says:

    I’m making paper bags and thousands of little cranes for my friends good luck, so I hope there’s some luck for me to win this amazing jewelry ;)

  53. lynn says:

    I shrank a beloved 20 year old wool sweater. opps. Turning it into a clutch purse, with vintage buttons and it is sweet.

  54. sunchicka says:

    I’ve reclaimed fabric from old tees and made them into hairbands.These hairbands are so soft, due to the breakdown of the cotton from the tees.

  55. Kagyuwindhorse says:

    Being an Architect my recycling impulses often include structural things. My favorite is a 4 foot by 2 foot mirror with an elaborate plastered floral frame that I found in an auction for $1!
    the plaster was broken in many places so i look a rich red velvet swag and wove it into the holes between the broken plaster, how can I send you a picture of this beautiful mirror?
    I love recycling, it’s creative, challenging and each time I do it or see others’ do it I feel like, We Won!!

  56. veggie says:

    What great looking recycled jewelry pieces! Recently, I took a bunch of old/too small tee shirts of our two sons and gave them to a friend of mine. She is a fabulous quilter and made each of our sons a personalized quilt from each one’s shirts! They
    use them for warmth in their prospective college dorms!
    Many thanks, Cindi