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Salvaging By Design: Upcycling Fashion Industry Scraps Salvaging By Design: Upcycling Fashion Industry Scraps

Salvaging By Design: Upcycling Fashion Industry Scraps

by Sarah Stankorb

September 1, 2012

There are reasons why even in mythology, creation and destruction are linked. It takes something to make something. But in the fashion industry, the element of destruction that goes into your new threads often comes in the form of waste. 

That process has resulted in bags made from wind turbine tarps and laptop covers from deep sea diving wetsuit material. They will soon make backpacks, messenger bags and laptop sleeves from banners that were hung at University of Oregon’s Olympics Trials. When a leather manufacturer called Looptworks about finding a use for its remnants—pieces cut away due to blemish and minor scratches—the scraps were cut down and pressed into workable squares. Though some might question just how environmentally sensitive it is to make leather products, Neal says “we really believe that we’d rather see it as a laptop sleeve than see it in a landfill.”

It’s a matter of using what already exists and making things work. It may mean trimming pockets with surplus yardage. It may mean retailers must learn to be adaptive—that pretty blue shirt that sold so well may now come in green, because that’s the fabric that was salvageable this season. It means creating something people will want out of what was about to be thrown away, and in doing that, Looptworks closes a loop in manufacturing. They also make fashion a bit less destructive.

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Salvaging By Design: Upcycling Fashion Industry Scraps