As a New York "transplant" - I have greatly enjoyed creating a semester bucket list and being able to go through all the boroughs checking things off!
So, as my time in New York is coming to an end, I decided to take advantage of one last opportunity! Volunteering at FabScrap has been on my NYC bucket list ever since Crystalyn mentioned that that is where she gets a lot of her upcycled leather and unique fabrics. It is no secret that textile waste is growing at an alarming rate, with about 80 billion (yes, with a B) new pieces of clothing being produced each year, consumers are eager to buy the latest trends, often discarding around 82 pounds their older textiles to end in landfills every year. Throwing away textiles is not the only problem, with the creation of more and more clothing through fast fashion, the materials being used to create the products also have to be multiplied and engineered to keep up with the demand. More than 90% of cotton is now genetically modified, using vast amounts of water and chemicals that will end up in local water streams and effect the heath of many. These facts are alarming, but the *women* who started FabScrap had a plan to turn textile trash into treasure.
Crystalyn, being the super cool boss she is, allowed me to take an afternoon off and volunteer at FabScrap! Again, this amazing *woman founded* business is dedicated to recycling fabrics and repurposing them to keep them out of the waste stream. They have thousands of pounds of fabric that they have collected from apparel design companies in New York City, about 40 bags a day weighing 50 pounds each, which volunteers then sort to be recycled or sold at very reasonable prices to designers or students! For a few hours you follow the simple directions of separating the fabric by content and then at the end they allow you to take five pounds of fabric for free!
This start up is not the only place where the problem of textile waste is being tackled in a creative way. Other brands have also thought outside the box. We are big fans of Designer Zero Waste Daniel, who created his label focused around one thing: zero waste designing. Their vision came to life by creating genderless basics fabricated from pre-consumer waste of New York's Garment District. Their website says that for each piece produced, roughly one pound of textile waste is diverted from landfills.
These pioneers are creating a new industry standard and motivating change from big companies to take responsibility about the amount of resources they are using. Because of places like FabScrap, textile waste is being kept out of landfills and showing that it IS cool to recycle! Upcycling can be super stylish and a great test of creative power and create unique items. Places like this are what what makes New York everything that it is.
Volunteering at FabScrap was so easy and I challenge you to get involved in revolutions that will continue to shape our future!
Shop bags we've created using upcycled FabScrap materials