The fashion industry has a textile waste issue – and not just here Down Under. Did you know that Australia is the second largest consumer of new textiles in the US. The Australian bureau of Statistics reported that Australians send 85% of textiles to landfill every year.
It wasn’t until my business partner and I delved into the meters of information and yards of stats that it became apparent to us just how alarming this issue was. Although multifaceted and undeniably challenging to solve, we realised that it simply started with perception. The misconstrued idea that unused fabric (a.k.a ‘deadstock’) has something wrong with it or that it’s of poor quality – but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The more research we did around the enormous amount of fabric and materials being wasted and sent to landfill, the more dedicated we became. And that is how our passion to reduce landfill and repurpose existing fabric into beautiful things became the “who” and “why” for hygge:liv – our unique, one-of-a-kind collection of handmade cushions designed to bring life to any space in the home.
With our personal mission clear and business objective in place, it was time to travel 16,000km around the world to pay a visit to the one of the industry’s leading one-stop textile reuse and recycling resources– FABSCRAP.
Waking up in New York City is an incredibly energising feeling at the best of times, but on this beautiful fall morning I just knew it was going to be a day (and experience) I’ll never forget.
Located in the old army terminal in Brooklyn, FABSCRAP’s warehouse is like a maze to find – even just getting there is adventure in itself! Despite having been to the warehouse before, the journey I was on today was going to be completely different. Today I wasn’t just a visitor, I was a volunteer.
As you enter FABSCRAP, you can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of shock and sadness at the sheer volume of fabric suffocating in bags just sitting there lifeless waiting to be sorted. We are talking tonnes of the stuff.
FABSCRAP’s business model is simple, yet game changing. Each day, the team travels around the city from fashion house, to design school to clothing business and so on, collecting unwanted, unused and unloved scraps of fabric. However, whoever said these so called ‘scraps’ didn’t have the potential to add colour, excitement, warmth, texture and life back into a room?
As one of eight volunteers in the AM session (FABSCRAP run two volunteer sessions a day from 9-12pm and again from 1 to 4pm), what I found incredibly inspiring was the people I was working alongside with.
Despite being united in our passion and motivation to fight for the same cause, we were very different people from all walks of life. There were men, ladies, millennials, elderly citizens and industry veterans as well as everyday people just wanting to lend a hand. Together, we were there to save the fabric, protect our planet and recreate something wonderful – and not just literally.
At our sorting stations, we were assigned a box or bag to sort through. Anything from fabric scraps, to cuttings, to samples and production remnants were then arranged into piles depending on material such as cotton, wool, polyester etc.
For fabric that contained mixed fibres, they were allocated to a separate container and the smaller scraps were shredded to create insulation, carpet padding, furniture lining, moving blankets…And the list goes on.
As I was wading my way through I was stunned yet also inspired by the infinite possibilities of this so-called ‘deadstock’. I could not wait to return back home to start creating.
FABSCRAP is one of the places we source our fabric form for hygge:liv. The quality of the fabric that we have been able to source has been absolutely outstanding. People don’t realise that wasted fabrics are just waiting to be reused, reinvented, reloved.
As my duties as a volunteer came to an end it was time for the fabric sourcing fun to begin. The warehouse is full of luxe high-quality fabrics. Our design process for hygge:liv is working with unused fabrics in the sizes that are available, which is what makes our products so unique.
This non-for profit orgnaisation also relies on volunteers to help research and determine factual waste stats for businesses, ultimately helping to educate, inspire and put an end to the global fabric waste issue. Anyone can visit the warehouse and shop the fabrics, or visit their amazing retail store in New York City. The aesthetic is beautiful and the fabrics are presented in such an incredible way that it really allows you to see first hand the quality of fabrics they have. As a result of this organisation’s success, they will be expanding in the US, with plans to open a FABSCRAP in Los Angeles in 2020.
I can’t wait to share with you our next collection featuring some of the beautiful FABSCRAP fabrics, however in the meantime, if you are visiting New York City, do yourself a favour and visit the warehouse. Or even better – volunteer. See you in 2020 FABSCRAP.
To find out more about Fabscrap visit www.fabscrap.org