4.22.2013

Trash to Trend: Lemonade Out of Lemons?

Misconceptions about the "green-ness" of the used clothing market abound, meaning thrift stores and re-sale places like Beacon's Closet are less green than we think.  But so many steps go into making new apparel that it's impossible for me to think of it as the greener option.** 

So when I read about how Trash to Trend looks to see where there is surplus of unused textiles from an apparel manufacturing run and helps brands use that textile surplus to create...well, more new clothes, I thought it was an interesting concept.  Kind of a little of both re-used and new apparel.  {via Ecouterre}

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Trash to Trend dress

I want to give this idea the credit it's due (kudos for using existing waste) but it brings up some questions for me.  It's similar to the used clothing market in that it is using waste from the current wasteful system of apparel manufacturing.  Basically:  a lot of the damage is already done by someone else and this venue maximizes the leftovers.  It offsets the waste from being...well...immediate waste. 

But I think it's still good to ask ourselves if the usage of waste is  considered "enough" to you for this concept to be considered sustainable?  Or is it not enough because it's not addressing the root causes of why the apparel industry is so damaging?  (We buy too much.  We have no transparency in manufacturing.  We have lax regulations for manufacturing.)



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Trash to Trend dress


My critical thoughts aside, one thing I do really like about the group's concept is that at least some of its brands don't sport the "hippie patchwork dream quilt" look that so many textile remnant projects end up with.  (I enjoy that look on others, but it's not my thing and I run into it often in the re-fashioning community offerings.) I also think this is a strength because the market for more professional or versatile designs is much better than for patchwork stuff, so congrats to them for that success!

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Note:  This project is not advertised as a vegan project, although some of the brands they work with seem to have some vegan options.

** footnote:  You know, all the textile production and its waste management, getting the textiles to the manufacturer, dealing with manufacturing energy and materials waste management, packaging and shipping goods to retail outlets, etc.

2 comments:

  1. Limits on manufacturing is a really interesting idea to me. I was thinking about the supermarket shelves and how they can be filled top to bottom, I'm sure with merchandise that doesn't get bought - only to be replaced with even more as the use-by dates loom closer. What happens to the un-bought food?
    As for fashion, I'm all for a manufacturing limit there too. What if buying wasn't limitless? Would people appreciate what they had more? As an AVID thrifter, I've come to realise that the most treasured, longest wearing (in terms of how long it stays in my closet) clothes were brand new and cost more. I had to put more thought and consideration into those purchases - therefore they are keepers. Many of my thrifted things have made it back into the thrift store cycle. Good post girl.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, lady! Yeah, the Wartime Wardrobe Challenge has made me think of limits as well. At that time they were enforced by the gov't but I think they're often reinforced via social constructs, too. The trick is to not make it seem limiting...

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