Adding Green to the Color Card of Fashion Design

Last Wednesday I co-chaired an event for the Fashion News Workshop, on bringing sustainable practices into the fashion showroom. FNW is an intimate group of fashion industry leaders who get together once a month to discuss issues relevant to fashion design and production. I was honored to have Samantha MacBride speak to the group on the issues of textile waste in our landfills. This is an issue of great interest to Samantha as she searches to document the social construction of waste problems in the US. According to Samantha, textiles currently make up 7% of landfill waste in NYC. However, compared to other recyclable materials the textile industry already has a tremendous (and profitable) recycling infrastructure in place so everyone can help reduce and eliminate this unnecessary waste.Recycling your textiles is an area where we can all easily do more. Here’s how: 1. If you are part of the fashion industry it is against the law to throw out scrap and sample products with your garbage. Ask your refuse service provider to schedule a collection for you. It is possible to get textile collection for recycling, just as you do cardboard and plastic. 2. As a residential customer take your used and worn textiles to thrift stores such as Goodwill or Salvation Army. Twice a year NYC also offers a collection program for these goods. I used to worry that the stuff I was donating wasn’t perhaps “good” enough for a thrift store. We learned at our event that you shouldn’t worry about that. Used clothing, even in rag condition is a valuable commodity. Some of our items are bought in bulk and sent overseas and some are litterally purchased for making rags and textile recycling. In short, error on the side of donating, rather than the trash can and give old textiles new life! I also encourage you to check out NYC WasteLess site for all sorts of great information on recycling, donating, and selling your used and unwanted household items. You’d be surprised how many new homes you can find for old goods. Remember, one man’s trash is another’s treasure!